Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kyle's Graduation + Excerpts from May

 We so enjoyed celebrating Kyle's High school Graduation!

Can you believe there's only one more to go after this? Mother dear is going through a bit of withdrawal to have such a small class (as in, one little Annabelle Miller girl) for the next five years. But she's very good at recognizing that all those years in which we were under her tutelage were only days to prepare us for new adventures and callings (not days to simply keep us safe and warm under that motherly wing). And as a child of hers, I'm so glad for that release and blessing.

Last weekend I came home at 3:00 a.m. from having been out of town for the day (because when you're 21 you do that sort of thing). I turned on the lamp in my dark room and was pleasantly surprised to find my covers turned back; ready for me when I got home. Mother's touch. But there was also a book that lay open by my pillow. It was a book of poems and quotes by Janette Oke paired with lovely, story-telling pictures. I read the quote that was printed largely on the page  across from a soft picture of a little girl snuggled in her mother's arms...
"For now, I hold you close
but the day must come when I release you to be all that the has planned for you to be"

(That thing laying by the book...that's my childhood "blankie") 

And then I cried.
Because I feel it too -- the tug, the ache, the change that keeps coming with every year I get older. Growing pains are for parents and children alike, I think. I feel it as I get busier than I've ever been, have much on my plate,  and all the while a hundred ideas and plans of what I'd like to do or may do in the future buzz around in my mind. It's here that those mother arms seem more inviting then ever. Because she doesn't force them around me, I long for them and gladly invite them into my life.

I wasn't going to go into all of that, but I suppose that's all to say; we're excited to see Kyle take a new step! We're excited to see the plans the Lord has for him that are still unfolding.

Mom always spends many an hour creating a photo book for each of us to present of our graduation. Having a picture book of your life is both warming and frightening. :)  
It was fun to have a joint open-house with one of Kyle's good friends, Raven. 
(They really were happy...but when you're sipping iced coffee one must be mysterious.) 

 Dad presented Kyle's written blessing during family lunch before the party. 

 They're cool guys. We can't wait to see where God will take them in the next steps of their lives. 
Naturally, the night was concluded with playing volleyball until 2:00 a.m. :) 

Excerpts from May

Some family love after a refreshing week of input time at a family conference. 
Mother and I enjoyed spending Mother's day with some lady friends at the Builtmore Estate. There was a long drive and long lines, but that was half the fun because having plenty of time to talk is too good to be true. 

 You'll find the Miller household often packed with youth on the weekends -- whether from far or near. On this lovely Sunday evening we had a bunch of youth from Church over to finish off leftovers form the graduation party and...to be together (because we love that). 

 When it got too dark for bocce ball, spike ball, volleyball, and corn hole, we opted for group games and singing worship songs late into the night. 

And here's a random picture of the siblings practicing a few new songs for the next tour out. With everyone having work and social schedules of their own when we're home, we have to call "scheduling meetings" quite often so we can actually get things like practice and family time in. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring Singspiration Tour 2016

6 Buses + 6 families + A sound guy and and his wife + 4 States + Canada + 8 days + 7 Services 

It's hard to explain how intense these joint tours are.
It's also hard to explain how FUN these joint tours are!
But the presence, grace, and glory of the Lord on these tours is the only thing that's really worth trying to explain.
He was so good, so real, so enabling.
It's such a privilege to be able to do it with Him and with these dear comrades!

Intermissions look a little bit like this: 

The Raber Family
The Stutzman Family

Derek and his posse. :) 

Team devotions is a time for laughter, tears, and worship. 

Pizza with the Canadian Gospel Express Board after a service. 

Nelson and sound man, James, going over service details.
Pre-service instrumentals

Our one day off was needed and enjoyed. But before the fun, there was laundry and hair cuts to be done. We've given hair cuts in all manner of places over the years; a laundry mat can now be added to the list. :)  

The men discussing a successful boarder crossing. :) 

^Intermission calls for this^

The bass section had way too much fun! 

The Penner family
Prayer and Ministry time 
A boyfriend (Tanisha's) who worships in the back row and causes extra smiles on stage. :) 

Smulders on-point. :) 

Raber boys read while the service is underway. ;) 

The kiddos on the team are always so much fun! 
Joshua photography. :)

Singing on the farm for a dear family facing some challenging health situations.

What's to be done after a full evening of singing? Well, hop on the Penner bus and sing some more!   Here us youth were practicing a "surprise" song, unbeknownst to Nelson, to sing on the final night (tradition). ;) 
Surprise, last-minute, bridal shower for Taylor, held in a class room of a community center we were to sing at that night. :) 

We all whipped up a little something from our buses to make for a party! 

Men taking care of their buses. 
During a singing break in the service, Derek left his spot in the sound booth to join me at the product table and tell me he missed me. :) It was crazy how we could go through days and feel like we hardly talked with each other (even though we were living on a bus together)! :) This isn't normally the case with road life, but just happens some days with the various responsibilities of a joint tour. 

Read-a-thon awards given out.
Bontrager Sisters

Singspiration Tour sisterhood, 2016
Tearful goodbyes on the last night. 

 "To God be the glory; great things He has done" 

We anticipate more such tours together in years to come!

Posted by: Deborah

Some of the photo credit goes to Dorcas Stutzman. :)