Saturday, December 22, 2012

4th Blog Birthday!!

 its been four years since this little blogger adventure of mine started. 
those four years have been filled with pretty much either feast or famine or something in between.
(in terms of how much or how little I have posted!)
its been a great outlet for my photography and random thoughts and I've enjoyed hearing from some of you readers from time to time.
To celebrate this occasion of four years of blogging....I would be thrilled if you 
(all of you, even the lurkers!)
would post a comment with 
1) your first & last name
2) the state you are from
 (or if from another country, your country)
3) anything else you might like to say =)
Thanks so much! I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Live Animal Christmas Play Recap...

it is over. 
and I miss it!
the 2012 Live Animal Christmas Play recording practices, dress rehearsals, and five public showings are all over, and I am once again living at home. =)
I loved every minute of it---intense hours of practicing lines, recording parts over and over again, learning cues, making embarrassing mistakes (okay, did not enjoy that!), and getting to work with the amazing people at my church---it was an incredible experience and one that I am so grateful for!
Its like the beginning of how God is answering my prayer/dream of acting, and its been amazing!
Getting to act lead parts with my younger sis was just like the frosting on the cake. =)
I posted more pictures & a video clip over on my family's blog!

Remembering...Rehearsal Memories

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Music I Love...

the "Piano Guys" are some of my favorite musicians.
this is one of their latest music videos---We Three Kings.
it was shot in NY City and is pretty incredible!
read the story (about how they filmed it) here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wedding Preview!

the beautiful day, December 1st, is now history. 
my cousin dearie has gone and become a Mrs! 
it was a *most* fabulous day... that I enjoyed tremendously and will treasure the memories of for many years to come.
I was delighted to discover tonight via another cousin...that some of the incredible images are online!
Here are a few, with more to follow at a later date.
{courtesy of DarylMusserPhotography}
the bride with her girls
left to right...Lisa, myself, Marissa, Kendra, Sarah Liz, & Karla
the bridal party
super cute shoes...grey for the bridesmaids, pink for the bride
one of my favorites right here. =)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Current Occupation

this has been my life as of late.
 taking different patterns and putting together part of this one and part of that one, as well as part of my own original ideas, to come up with a new pattern.
 After multiple adjustments, markings, and changes...I finally get the dress cut out and am ready to sew! its a rather long process but very fun to see a dress emerge that is unlike any other. =)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Of Pre-Wedding Festivities.....

As ya'll know (by my absence on here this fall) my life has been quite busy lately! 
Among other things, I have been loving every minute that I've gotten to spend w/ my cousin helping her get ready for her upcoming wedding!
In September, when my family was traveling through NY, my mom, sister, & I did an "around the clock" bridal shower for her. 
It was a very fun, unique type of shower (each guest was assigned a different time of day for which to bring a gift. A breakfast hour gift might be a waffle iron, work hour might be cleaning supplies, etc)
We had a time of blessing where guests could pray a prayer of blessing to bless her in her new future role as a wife.
Rebecca & her little cousins were the "gift-delivery" crew.
The end of October, Alli & I went out for a week to throw the bachelorette party & help w/ wedding preparations. 
We rented a yurt in the mountains and had a delightful weekend with the bride-to-be & the other bridesmaids. It was the same weekend as hurricane   which made for an unfortunate earlier-than-planned departure, but we were all safe and had a marvelous time so we were thankful for that!
Lots of yummy food was enjoyed... well as a very fun & "special" shower

When we got back home (to Marissa's home) there was lots of work to be done. 
In the midst of it, we found moments to enjoy some special girl activities, such as doing these lovely {ahem} face masks. 
{Alli & Marissa will probably disown me forever for posting this picture =)}
We stripped leaves off of branches so the branches could be spray-painted white and used for the table centerpieces at the wedding
Marissa's favors are cute little bags of hot chocolate mix. Here Alli, Marissa, & my aunt Sarah worked on those.
Ready to head out for some bargain shopping at Salvation Army...
me, my cousin's wife, Patty,cousin Marissa, Alli, & cousin Lyndsi
Alli was in charge of the biscotti 
(which will be the delectable appetizers at the wedding)
There were many other projects which did not get documented by camera. I got to spend quite a bit of time packing up Marissa's personal possessions and all her dishes/shower gifts/etc/etc/etc. It's amazing how much we girls can accumulate over the years! =) 
I simply {LOVE} packing. 
(that is an understatement)
So it was totally right down my alley and I greatly enjoyed fitting as much as possible in a box, making sure everything breakable was wrapped well, figuring out the value of everything in the box, numbering & labeling each box, and then writting down in a notebook the number of each box, what was in each box, & what was the approx. value of each boxes contents. 
(oh the joys of transferring all your stuff to Canada!=))
A fun movie night w/ cousins & aunts

on our last day there we went to this delicious-sounding little cafe.
it was a simply exquisite place & the food was delectable.

Lynds & Alli
All of us..
My turkey & smoked gouda crepe
{to-die-for goodness}
Me with the beautiful girl who's been my "cousin/bestie" & partner in crime for as long as I can remember, and who is getting married in just 12 days and moving to the far-away region of Manitoba. I'm gonna miss her!
What wonderful memories were made in the midst of all our time spent there this fall.
I have decided that I could go into this wedding-planning business as a occupation. It is {most} enjoyable, and I just get to do the fun things, w/o the stress of being the bride! 
Anyway, thats a little update on my fall projects of "wedding work". 
I'm sewing Alli & I's dresses for the wedding and as normal I waited til the last minute. 
Just finished her's the other day, and now I'm working on mine. 
Hope to have it done by the big day. =)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Little Brothers Make the News!

(above...thats my brother Taylor on mainstage @ the National Bible Bee Competition Finals!)
This very proud sister never thought she'd see an article about her little brothers in the
 San Francisco Chronicle. 
But here it is, sure enough....just one of the many newspapers/reporters/radio stations that are intrigued with the idea that hundreds of children want to hide God's Word in their hearts!
All of that was before my one little brother won 2nd place today=$10,000!!
Read all about it in the above link, and on our family blog!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why All Christians Should Vote

(the following is an incredible article my younger brother wrote this fall. It was published in our local newspaper last week)


Why All Christians Should Vote

    We live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. All of us Americans are glad that we have freedom, but are we really grateful? What are we doing to ensure that the next generation will enjoy the same freedoms that we enjoy today? Do we really appreciate the sacrifice that our forefathers have made in order to give us freedom, and do we really appreciate the sacrifices that men and women are still making today in order to keep this country free? America is great, but only because of the great sacrifices that men and women have made throughout the history of this nation. If we desire to leave to our descendants the same freedoms that we enjoy, then we can not, we must not, sit idly by while our country disintegrates. One of the most basic things that every United States citizen is OBLIGED to do for his country is to vote. And while all US citizens should vote, I am simply going to address Christians.

    There are three basic reasons why all Christians must vote. First, it is our obligation to our forefathers. Over the past several hundred years, these brave men and women  sacrificed their comforts, fortunes, and even their lives to obtain and to protect America’s freedom. We are being extremely ungrateful if we neglect our duty to vote, thereby allowing radical socialists to take over our homeland.

    Second, we must vote because it is our obligation to our children and grandchildren. If we enjoy the freedoms that we have today, then we should vote for leaders who will strive to protect these freedoms. If we are seriously concerned about the future of America, we can’t sit idly by while our freedoms are being stripped away.

    Lastly, we must vote because it is our duty as Christians. While some Christians argue against voting on the basis that the Bible teaches against it, I argue for voting on the basis that the Bible teaches FOR it. You see, the argument that we are supposed to be set apart from the world is a poor argument for not voting. Rather, I believe that it is one of the strongest arguments for voting. You see, if we as Christians are to be set apart from the world, then why not vote for Godly leaders who will influence our nation for Christ? In my opinion, one of the strongest cases in the Bible for voting is found in Romans 13:1-4. Verse one says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Verse four goes on to say that rulers are “the ministers of God to thee for good.” Since God has given power to our leaders, it is our responsibility to vote for people who won’t abuse their God-given power. God has given us one of the greatest nations in the history of the world, and you are laughing in his face if you do nothing while socialists run this nation into the ground. Nowhere in the Bible does God instruct us not to vote; we are actually neglecting a God-given responsibility by not voting.

    If you still decide not to vote, you should be ashamed of yourself for attending Fourth-of-July parades and picnics. You are being two-faced if you watch fireworks displays which remind us of our country’s freedom. Above all, you are being a complete hypocrite if you complain about the direction that our country is going, because if you don’t vote, then you are just as responsible for placing ungodly leaders in authority as those who voted them in. 
    If, however, you are concerned about the direction that our leaders are taking us, then please vote in the upcoming November elections. It is your duty to your country, to your descendants, and to God. This may be the last opportunity you will ever have (I am serious when I say this; four more years of our current leadership may finish this country off).

-Mitchell Bontrager, October 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Laugh of the Day

A friend sent this youtube clip to me the other day.
It is seriously absolutely hilarious.
How one family can have 
A. awesome humor
B. awesome acting
C. stellar videography skills
D. overall professionalism
is beyond me. 
But it is pretty cool! 
And I'm pretty sure it will give you your laugh of the some. =)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It all began.....almost exactly a year ago. 
I received a phone call from my cousin, Marissa, 
whom many of you have either met or heard about. 
As though it was yesterday, I remember walking around in the backyard listening to the following:
"So Chels...I just wanted you to know...theres really nothing to tell, but I wanted to tell you in case, well...someday there MIGHT be something to tell...I don't even know...maybe I'm just imaging it? But...I met this guy....this incredible guy....." etc etc. =)
She prayed about it...and cause I'm her bestie and we always pray for each other about "things", I prayed about it too.
Just under two months later...I was shopping in Iowa City with a group of friends when my phone rang. I answered and heard Marissa say 
"Chels, GUESS WHAT?!"
{whereupon I promptly screamed, left my cart and everything, & flew to the corner of the store to listen} 
She told me that he had called her dad, and a meeting with him & her parents was scheduled...
Two weeks later, the day before Christmas, I was at my grandmas house sitting with a group of my cousins when my brother brought the phone to me and said 
"Chels, its Marissa".
I instantly "knew", and gave something between a shriek & a cheer as I grabbed the phone and ran to an empty room...
 where she told me that she had just finished her first phone date with her new boyfriend!
And lastly....this summer in June, I was with my family at a church in southwest Iowa, preparing to give a concert.
{I had talked to Marissa the week before and she had told me that she was going to Canada to visit and that she thought that this might be 'the time", and besides, I'd been thinking that I had it in the back of my mind} 
Back to me...t was almost time to start our concert and I was finishing with setting up our product table when my phone rang. I didn't get to it in time and when I finally got there and checked I didn't recognize the number.
 I was pretty curious as to who would be calling me on a Sunday morning, so I called back. 
A guy answered, which just puzzled me more, so I said 
"Um..hello, this is Chels, and...I just received a call from this number?" 
Just then I heard a very familiar voice come over the line.
all she said was "Chels..." and then everything clicked and I knew.
Only this time I kind of overdid the screaming...thru the the outdoors....where I heard her say the news I already knew...."we're engaged!"
Pretty sure that if I ever had any reputation of stableness/maturity/calmness...I ruined it that day.
What girl in her right mind would both run and yell in a church sanctuary?
yours truly...
{I can hear some of you chuckling at the thought that any of those adjectives would apply to me EVER}
oh well. maybe? =)
So  now here I am, posting about my dearly beloved bestie/cousin/kindred...
 and the man that has stolen her heart and is taking her to the faraway land of Manitoba, Canada.
{happy & sad sighs mixed together to make something in the middle-ish}
I could not be happier for them, truly, but its still just the feeling of life changing, and thinking of losing her, in a sense....that just at times makes me feel kind of achy.
Its lovely though-it really is.
the wedding is coming up in just two months and its going to be beautiful. 
More on that later...
Shooting their engagement photography session for them was such an honor & a joy.
I have decided that engagements are the best.
All that love there...they can't help BUT be photogenic.
With all that said, please enjoy the engagement photos of Marissa & Jon
Love you both! Can't wait for the 1st of December! =)