Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Check it out

My cousin wrote a post about waiting for her future husband that I thought was pretty neat.
I've enjoyed everything that I've read on her blog, I Am A Daughter Of The King.
Read her post, "My Future Husband". I really liked her list.

It's finally fall!

How do I know? Announcing:

The first fire of the season at the Lofgren's house!

With lows in the upper 40s and highs in the lower 70s, the house gets pretty chilly! There's nothing like studying beside a nice, warm fire when you're cold and your hands feel like ice cubes.

Pictures in San Antonio

On Sunday night we arrived back home from our excursion to Texas. The hours in the car were long, but passed by pleasantly with a book or pen in my hand. It was wonderful to have a break of routine and relax for a few days in beautiful Texas.

We visited relatives after taking Elijah back to college, then arrived in San Antonio on Thursday afternoon. After registering for the film festival, we walked to the Alamo. We'd been 2 years ago, so we didn't read all the displays - but it was a beautiful place to take some pictures!

The weather was beautiful. A bit chilly at times, but for the most part pleasant.

This tree was amazing! Inside the Alamo, it's so relaxing with God's Creation all around.

All the stone archways were neat, lending an old-fashioned air.

Thursday evening opened the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. We had a wonderful time, watching so many great films! My eyes got reddish and sore after watching movies for two days straight, but it was a delight to see so many good films. I also got to meet Stephanie, which was fun!

Our all-time favorite was Heartstrings. It's such a great family film, funny, yet at the same time having a great message. Every family should get a copy (you can buy it by going here). The DVD includes Bubble Trouble, our all-time favorite from the 2005 film festival. Heartstrings definitely deserved the awards of Audience Choice and Best Young Filmmaker!

Another highlight was seeing the world family premier of Return of the Daughters. It was beautifully filmed with great interviews and thrilling music. It was very encouraging to hear all of the interviews and see families working together.

On Thursday and Friday evening, we got to go to the River Theater to hear George Sarris and the Booer Brothers. George Sarris again amazed us with his dramatic storytelling word-for-word from the Bible and the Booer Brothers were a hit with their Coyboy and Gospel songs. Though cold, we thoroughly enjoyed their presentations, staying until 11 p.m. each evening!

No visit to San Antonio would be complete without going to the River Walk. The water and surroundings were lovely and calming. Again, a great place for pictures!

We ate at Mexican restaurants 3 nights in a row, but where else can you get good Mexican food then close to the border?

Jubilee and I spent time together, going to most of the same films. It was weird only having one other sibling along! We looked like such a small family among all of the large families at the event. =)

We couldn't stay for the closing ceremonies, having to drive the 14 or so hours home in time for teaching and play practice on Monday. Now it's time for me to get back into routine, after a lovely break spent in the heart of Texas.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Lord Is My Strength!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In Christ Alone

This is the lyrics to a song Mother and I sang a couple of weeks ago. It's more like a contemporary hymn and I love the melody.

In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My comforter, my all in all,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Til on the cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay.
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
'Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the pow'r of Christ I stand.

By Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Camping Line Dancing

Elijah captured this video of some of us line dancing on Sunday afternoon. Lydia and I had taught some people this dance the night before, when we danced while some people played songs around the camp fire. It's hard to talk and dance at the same time but everyone did very well! As usual, I called out the moves while we danced, so through the video you'll hear me saying, "Heel, heel, toe, toe, heel, toe, one, two, three, pause..."

This video was taken before we started doing the moves twice as fast. Now that was a lot of fun!

Fall Camping 2007

C A M P I N G (can you tell we're spelling out those letters?)

Fort Toulouse is a beautiful place. We camped overlooking the river - a lovely sight to behold.

Some gallant little gentlemen helped me set up Miriam Rebekah's and my tent. We got a little confused though, and Miriam Lofgren had to help me straighten it out! =)

While walking to The Pointe (the place where the Coosa and Alabama Rivers join to make the Tallapoosa River), we decided this tree was a nice place for a family picture. All of the Spanish moss in the trees was really pretty!

As always, I really enjoyed spending time with the little ones at the camping trip. My arms got a work out carrying around the sweet youngsters!

As usual, we played countless games of volleyball, sometimes having 16 people per side! It's truly a camping tradition and each year more younger children join us to learn the game and try to get a hand on the ball.

Many games were played together. Ultimate Frisbee particularly wore us out! We went almost non-stop all weekend, which resulted in a lot of soreness!

On Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, some of us did the Virginia Reel. I called and danced at the same time, almost going hoarse on Friday when I tried to call loud enough for two lines to hear me.

We couldn't convince everyone to join us, but those who did had a good time! We also tried some other Country Dances, which were a lot of fun!

When needing a break, the best thing to do was to spend time talking with friends. I was so glad that the Harts were able to camp with us!

First thing in the morning, you headed to the fire to warm up. It's always a trick to find the balance between too hot and too cold!

On Sunday morning we had church together. There were many instruments playing together and many others joining their voices in song.

How low can you limbo? We enjoyed taking a walk with one other family after others had left on Sunday afternoon and took some interesting pictures!

The group that was left to take a picture. All-in-all, we had 75 people camping and 26 people that came for the day, for a grand total of 101 people at our semi-annual camp-out! Can you find Miriam and I?

If you care to see more pictures, Miriam has uploaded the ones she took to be viewed here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


We just got back from a wonderful camping trip, exhausted but refreshed after time with great friends. I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow, and others later after I get copies from different people.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead, because it a vacation week for me! A week without school work... I'll get to read books I haven't had time to read for a while. I'll get the opportunity because we'll be driving all the long way to Texas. On Tuesday we'll leave and take Elijah back to LeTourneau University (he's home on fall break right now). Then, we'll visit relatives and be able to go to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. We went in 2005, and I look forward to going again! If any of you will be there as well, please let me know. It would be fun to perhaps be able to meet you!

So, apart from pictures tomorrow, don't expect to hear from me for the next week.

I'll be taking a much-anticipated vacation!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gone Camping

Tomorrow we leave for our semi-annual camp-out with many families. So, we'll be gone from our blog until around Monday, when we may pop in with pictures.

Until then, enjoy reading about past camping trips and seeing pictures from previous years at Miriam's Camping Countdown Week 1,Week 2, and Week 3.

Here comes sleeping on the hard ground, getting utterly exhausted, spending time with others, playing games... and enjoying every minute of it.

Lessons learned at the sink

The night outside is dark; the crickets are chirping up a storm. The kitchen is abandoned save for me; the sink and counter are piled with dirty dishes waiting to be washed. The water runs and the soap suds. I savor this time of solitude, swishing my hands through the warm water. Yes, it's my day for dishes.

This scene repeats itself nearly every other day and each time I try to enjoy it. The thought of dishes waiting to be cleaned isn't usually a pleasant one, but the millions of dishes washed over my lifetime have provided me time for needed contemplation. Sometimes I take advantage of the time to listen to music, feeling my heart swell as I turn my mind to worship Christ. Other times I work in silence, feeling my spirit calm as I have a quiet moment after a long and busy day.

Many lessons have been learned in a sink full of dishes, lessons that prepare me for life. I've learned to be diligent, working quickly to demolish the dirty mound. Self-discipline has been learned when I force myself to work when I don't want to, knowing that it's better to finish tonight even if it's late then to leave the sticky mess for tomorrow. Stubborn stains and crusted pans have taught me patience, and an especially large mountain of pans has reminded me to be thankful for the abundance of good food enjoyed earlier and the loving family with which it's been shared. A servant's spirit has been developed when I work while others play, and compassion has taken hold of me to the point of my helping or doing the dishes for some tired or sick sibling. The large amount of utensils has impressed upon me the blessing of living in this land of plenty and made me thankful to be in this modern age.

Of course, I haven't always done the dishes with a grateful attitude. However, the days of dishes has taught me how much better it is to work cheerfully rather than drudgingly do my duty. Yes, sometimes life's smallest tasks teach the biggest lessons.

Yes, Daddy, I do actually do enjoy doing dishes (most of the time!). But no, Jubilee, not so much so that I want to do them every day!

Every other day, you'll most likely find me at the sink, working today to develop a character for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Zipporah - Married to Moses

It wasn't so long ago that Moses appeared in Midian. With a daring flourish, he rescued my sisters and me from some cruel shepherds and won his way into my father's favor. He made his way into my heart as well, and the next thing I knew, Papa had given me to him in marriage.

I try to be a good wife to my husband. He works so hard, herding sheep and providing for our family. However, his thoughts are in another place. I can see it in the way he scans the horizon at sunset; the far-off look in his eyes; the wandering of his mind to far away places. Even the name of our son Goshen tells how he feels like an alien in a foreign land. He's thinking of Egypt and the people he's left behind...

As the saying goes, "behind each great man is a great woman." The prophet and leader Moses was definitely one of the greatest men in the Bible, so what was his wife like? In what ways did she influence her husband?

To investigate Zipporah, we must go back to Exodus 2. Moses had grown up as a prince in Pharaoh's palace and had evidently learned of his Hebrew origins. One day when watching the slaves work, he saw a foreman beating one of the laborers. With the passion to characterize his life, he rushed out, glancing to make sure he could see no one, and killed the foreman. His impetuousness got him into trouble when word got out what he'd done, so he fled his position and place of prestige for the dusty land of Midian. Soon after his arrival, he met his future wife, Zipporah, and her sisters when they went to water her father's flock. Zipporah had six sisters (you've got to wonder what kind of sibling she was in turn!), and she evidently helped care for her father's sheep. When shepherds tried to drive them from the well, Moses came to their rescue and watered their flocks.

When Reuel, the girls' father, heard what had happened, he sent for Moses, fed him, and invited him to stay around. The girls may have prepared something especially enticing for this weary traveler, as he agreed to stay. Reuel gave Zipporah to Moses as his wife and they had two sons.

Life went on pretty uneventfully for quite a while. Moses lived the life of a shepherd and Zipporah that of a nomad's wife. Her days were probably full of the domestic pursuits common to those living in tents.

"During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God." ~ Exodus 2:23

Hearing their cry and concerned for them, God remembered Moses. The special survivor as a baby, he had now grown into an older man of eighty - and now God was ready to use him.

I wonder what Zipporah thought when Moses returned from his encounter with God, saying that he had been chosen to set God's people free. She may have looked at her aging husband and wondered if he'd suffered sunstroke! Or perhaps she could see how Moses had been prepared for this time by his years of testing in the desert. In any event, when Moses asked leave of her father, she went with him, leaving behind her clan and riding with her sons off into the unknown.

On the way, a rather tumultuous event took place. It would seem as though Moses hadn't circumcised his son, which was offensive to God. Because of the disobedience before Him, God met Moses and was about to kill him!

"But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it. 'Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,' she said" ~ Exodus 4:25

Zipporah's quick thinking and obedience to do what God required saved the life of her husband and allowed him to go on to do what God had called him to do.

Moses then met Aaron, and the two traveled to speak to Pharaoh and go through the long ordeal of plagues and demands of freedom. We don't know what Zipporah did during that time - she either went with her husband or returned to her father's camp, shaken by the event that had taken place.

After God's people had gained their freedom and Moses had them them of Egypt and through the Red Sea, Exodus 18 tells us that Moses had sent away his wife and two sons (who knows when this had happened) and his father-in-law received them. After God's working on behalf of His people, Zipporah's father took her and her sons to him in the desert. That's pretty much the last thing we hear of Zipporah. How long she lived and traveled with her husband we don't know; her specific influences on him remain a mystery. However, one thing is sure: she remained a faithful wife to Moses in the midst of hardship.

Today, no one knows much about Zipporah. Many probably haven't even heard her name. Though she's unnoticed, her husband's legacy lives on through the ages. She didn't get great acclaim. She had to live with Moses' time consumed by the burden of the Israelites and the public eye upon them. Yet, through it all she must have persevered, quietly supporting her husband.

Do you feel unnoticed, taken for granted, and as though you won't have much effect on those around you? Keep persevering! God will remember your work and use it for good (Hebrews 6:10). We can't see the big picture, but God knows what's in store. Your work may be noticed and acclaimed; or, someone else may get the praise as you diligently work close by. Whatever happens, like Zipporah remain faithful where God as placed you, and wait for what He will do.

Read all about Zipporah is Exodus 2:11-4:26; 18:1-27

Would you like to read about other women of the Bible? Read about the Godly women before Zipporah here. My prayer is to grow to be like them, as this beautiful post prays.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Do Hard Things Story

If you had asked me when I was younger if I ever thought of being a teacher or director, I probably would have adamantly denied it. I have what you call a more laid-back personality - one that doesn't enjoy being in charge! As I grew, I got over my shyness, but still had a hard time speaking up, especially in public. Now, at 17 years old, I've directed two musicals, am preparing for another one this Christmas season, and am in my second year of teaching ballet. What changed?

In the summer of 2005, I directed my first musical, Esther-Ordinary Faith. I had just turned 15, and was shaky, not very confident, and sure no one would want to listen to me! At that time, I hadn't heard about The Rebelution (I don't think it had even started!) so I sometimes wondered what I, a teenager, was doing directing a musical involving teens my age, younger children, and even my father! However, I had so much help from the parents and actors, and with God's help we were able to present the musical with a lot of success! So, maybe I could do things that were a little out of my comfort zone...

In October 2005 I discovered the Rebelution. As I read through the posts on the blog, the topics and challenges really resounded with me. "So this is what I've thought should be done as a teen, but never could put into words," I thought, "This is what I want to do in my teen years, not spending them wasting precious time, but really doing hard things!" As I read more over the next months, I started seeing that with God's help and the help of wise adults, I really could do things that most merely dismiss as something too hard for a teenager.

Instead of putting things off that could be done now, I got busy and followed where I felt God leading. I sought the advice of my wiser parents, and at 16 years old, I began teaching my own praise ballet students. I learned by some trial and error, but all-in-all, God gave me the strength to pull together my 19 students ranging from age 4 to age 16, and open to them the wonderful world of dancing for God's glory. Now, I'm in my second year of teaching, having to expand to 5 classes and a total of 36 students. God is so good and through Him we can do even the hardest things that are way outside of our natural inclinations!

Encouraged by the success of the dance classes, I embarked last summer into another theatrical production, this time writing the musical, finding the songs and music, choreographing, directing and acting to bring together the cast of 30 in a colorful array to bring the Biblical story of Ruth alive. As always, I couldn't have done it alone; the parents were so helpful in giving suggestions, my family especially worked hard in so many ways, and God gave me the strength to continue even in the hard times. Everyone was so excited by the end and begged for more. I thought it would be "too hard" to do a musical in the busy school year, but through the encouragement of others, I've written another one, this time about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and we're working to produce it this Christmas.

Has it been easy? Definitely not! Through it all I've encountered of lot of seemingly unresolved conflicts, disappointing practices, questions of whether or not things would actually work out.... However, through it all God has been more than faithful to bring it all into completion. Hard things can't be done in our own strength; only through Him can we ever begin to even try.

So, what has been the people's response to a teen such as myself doing so much? I've encountered many disbelieving stares and incredulous looks when I tell them what I've been doing. So many have amazedly asked, "And you're how old?" Overall, though, people have been so pleased and blessed through what God's enabled me to do. Yes, I am younger than most teachers and directors, but the parents have been enthused and behind me the whole way. It seems to be an encouragement to them to see what God has helped me do. So many have said they wished their teens were more like me! (by His grace alone...) Even though most in the culture would like to tell us that we're too young, they're really impressed and take note when a teen takes on responsibility. Now, let's go out and change the culture's expectations!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sibling Spotlight: Seth David

Seth is my oldest brother and when I was younger, he was considered to be the greatest guy in the world. At least, by a little girl he was. He was the next best thing to an older sister (which I don't have). Not that he was better than the others, but I shared my favorite interests with him. The biggest thing we have in common is a love of literature. He and I love to read the big, thick books that look intimidating. We love to read anything, as long as it's a good, wholesome story or something to do with history. I always enjoy talking or discussing a book with Seth.

My early memories of Seth are rather faint. He moved out when I was 9 years old and I don't have a very good memory at all. I remember playing and running on the trails that he, Micah, and Joel made in "our" woods. Seth was wonderfully creative (it's a trait that all my brothers have). There were numerous forts and treehouses built in the woods and all of them had creative names, such as...Fort Linhel, Cedar Point, and my favorite, Council Hill, which wasn't really a fort, but a pretty clearing on the top of a hill. He liked to invent codes to write with and I can't begin to count how many codes he created!

I had always looked up to Seth as an example for what I wanted in a husband someday. He was kind, considerate, and loved books. What more could a girl want? =) Though my list has grown since I was 8, he still has many qualities that I will look for in my future husband.

Speaking of a husband, my three older brothers are my sworn protectors. They joked about how, even if the guy who wants to court me miraculously passes my Daddy's approval, he still has to pass theirs. They've mentioned a private talk in the woods before he even can come near me. ;) Now how's that for protection? I love it!

When Seth moved out, I automatically thought he would immediately get married. But though he started dating his future wife a couple of years after he left, he didn't marry until four years later. I wasn't very much involved in the next four years of his life. We saw him quite a bit because he worked with Dad, but it was different than him actually living here with us.

When he became engaged, he became more involved with us again. We met his fiance, Ginger, and got to know her better. I was a little jealous that she was getting my Seth, but I got over it and we're great friends and sisters now.

Now Seth has a beautiful wife and two children, Riley Marie (22 months) and Weston Connor (3 months), that are absolute darlings. Weston almost looks just like his daddy who looks just like his daddy.

He is a wonderful, loving daddy and a great brother. I love you, Seth!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sibling Spotlight: Michele Dawn

Michele was welcomed into our family when she married my brother Luke. On May 16th, 1998, Michele became my sister by law. More than that, she's grown to be my sister in love.

I don't really remember very a well a time that I didn't know Michele. Maybe that's the reason that she's always seemed more like a natural sister than a late joiner of the family. =) I don't remember the exact time I first met Michele but it was some time when I was around 5 years old and we were visiting Luke at college. I don't have many memories of that, but the summer she came to visit us in Alabama before she and Luke were married I do remember somewhat...

Her first great introduction into the Lofgren clan came when Elijah lassoed her with a rope. An 8 or 9 year old boy must have something to catch, right? She and I had a very serious (on my part at least!) discussion about how pretty nail polish was and how I wished I could wear something other then light pink. She later French-braided my hair, and from that time on had won a special place in my heart. Anyone who would do my hair up lovely was pretty wonderful!

After her beautiful wedding, she settled down with Luke in Arkansas and they soon began a family. I've fallen in love with her sweet children, my niece and nephews, and enjoy every chance I get to visit the cuties and their mommy and daddy.

Michele has been a wonderful example to me of a great wife and mother. She's been so supportive of Luke and showed how a husband and wife can work together as a dynamic team. She's been a gentle and loving yet disciplined mother to her 4 children, and really trained them well. It's exciting to hear about all the projects they're up to, and I've gotten ideas that I hope to use one day with my own children. It's fun to hear about the creative ways she's used to teach her children at home. It's been a joy to swap recipes and hear about each others sewing projects or decorating schemes. All in all, my sister-in-love has been a tremendous blessing!

Michele's joined quite a clan, but she fits in well. Slowly we've acclimatized her to our quirky ways, taught her how to play a plethora of games, and helped some of her competitiveness break through. She cooks the trademark Pasties well and I believe some of the dry humor of the family may have rubbed off on her. Fun, loving, energetic and creative, she makes a wonderful addition to our family.

I love you Michele! Thanks for being such a great sis-in-law and being such an encouragement! Thanks for our long talks and crazy times together; thanks for being there to offer advice and and a lending hand. I can't wait to see you whenever we can get together again!

Visit Michele's blog over at Luke's Family website.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Praise the Lord!

I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live!
Psalm 146:2

For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 108:4-5
These pictures are taken of flowers in Esther's garden.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday Scrubbing

Today, Dad and I set out to get our kitchen floor clean. For years I have washed the floor and tried many different cleaners to try and get the floor really clean. After 6 hours of scrubbing, it's disappointing to look around and see that although your work did help, the tiles still didn't come all the way clean.

From a friend who works at a supply warehouse, we were able to get wax stripper and wax that they use in commercial buildings or schools. Finally, this truly got our floor clean, although it took quite a bit of elbow grease! From the picture on the right you can see that there's nothing like a little perspective to show how clean or dirty something is! The joy of having a clean floor made the five hours of scrubbing this morning and afternoon worth it. We're still applying wax coats in hopes that it will keep the floor looking nice. Daddy and I can both attest that we're now sore all over! Someday hopefully my red and raw knees and aching hands will recover.

I've been in charge of cleaning the kitchen ever since Lydia left home - about 3-4 years now. It's always bothered me to have a dirty floor, probably since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and washing dishes.

Now, I can finally say with satisfaction, our floor is clean!

How's that for a Saturday's work?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Daddy's Home

Beginning Monday, dad didn't go in to work. He's been home almost all day with us, working on the guest house, fixing things around the house, and getting a well-deserved rest. Why isn't he at work? Because, at the grand age of 57, my dad has joined the ranks of the "retired".

For 13 years, Dad has worked as the Alabama State Epidemiologist. He's worked on numerous food disease-outbreak cases, been consulted in countless rabies cases, and been a wonderful asset to the health department. Before that, Dad worked for the Arkansas Health Department, in Africa as a missionary doctor, and in various colleges and schools to become an MD and learn about public health and tropical medicine.

But now, the time has come for daddy to leave an office job and come home. He's used his money wisely and put in enough time for a retirement fund. Now, he's going to work to complete the guest house (pictured to the left) that we've been building as a family for the past 8 years and various things needing work around our house. He's looking into various ways God can use him in the years to come and promised that we'll learn many useful things together. One thing's for sure: he'll never really slow down! =) Right now, we're just enjoying having him with us.

Well done, faithful Daddy! Welcome home.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sibling Spotlight: Luke Emmanuel

Luke is the eldest of the Lofgren clan. As the first child, he probably got most of the experimental parent, paving the way for the rest of us. With six younger siblings, he certainly got experience as a brother. My first memories of him are vague; glimpses here and there of a loving older brother.

He was 14 when I was born and as I grew older I quickly attached myself to him. He was my "Lukey," my biggest, bestest friend. I delighted in anything I could do with him and loved it when he did special things with me, like letting me go with him to 4-H Club once or twice. We shared a "favorite" color of purple and the joys of a big brother-little sister relationship.

When I was 4, we moved to Alabama while Luke stayed behind in Arkansas, attending John Brown University. I missed my big brother. I clearly remember one trip we took to visit him... Seeing him down the hall and flying towards him with outstretched arms, squealing, "Lukey!!"

Almost as far back as I can remember, Luke was either dating or married to Michele, my wonderful sister-in-love. I couldn't be happier when they got married out of college and began a life together. I didn't see much of Luke after we moved to Alabama; he was either in college or living on his own, though he did come back for some breaks. The time we did spend together, I enjoyed. He bought our old house in Arkansas to establish his new household with Michele, and we've spent time visiting back and forth.

Life went on, and Luke is now a great father of 4 lovely children, Danielle (8), Alexander (6), Zachariah (4), and Nathaniel (2). I have enjoyed seeing his example as a father and husband, showing me qualities I'll look for in a future husband one day. Luke leads his home and family well.

As the firstborn, Luke definitely has the characteristics of an oldest child: a strong leader, able to make good decisions and holding strong views. I always enjoy hearing his views on a matter and listening as he analyzes approaches I've not thought of. His dry humor sometimes leaves me wondering whether I should laugh or take him seriously, and (again!) his analytical approach to games leaves him a player to be reckoned with.

Strong, tender, funny and serious - he's my brother. I think all of my siblings would agree that God has blessed us with a wonderful oldest brother.

I love you Luke! Thanks for being there for me - to give me advice and set an example. Thanks for being my brother and friend.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cross Stitch Projects

Cross Stitch - it's a wonderful way to spend extra time. I've found it a great way to keep my hands busy while listening or watching something. Many a happy hour has been spent watching a movie with my family while stitching and crossing strands of colorful thread. I've also gotten the chance to listen to different lectures or music while feeling like I'm actually accomplishing something. There's no end to things you can create!

I've cross stitched a few pillowcase sets and a scripture verse for my hope chest, and am currently working on a rather time-consuming tablecloth. It's fun to watch things bloom underneath my fingertips!

We were invited to two different weddings this September, and I decided to do something for the gifts that was a little more personal. So, I dug out the cross stitch book that had a different pattern and border ideas, a gift from Luke and Michele for Christmas. Part of the fun was in looking through the book and deciding what I wanted to stitch in which colors.

The towels for Susan were the first I embellished. I got the real cross stitch towels available in the craft section of Walmart.

When I wanted to begin the towels for Rachel, we didn't have time to drive to the only Walmart around that still carries cloth items. So, Mom picked me up these towels that had space for stitching, though they weren't the real cross stitch fabric with holes. They still worked well, though it was a bit more difficult to get the spaces even.

Closeups of the stitching. These were a joy to make and didn't take too long to complete. It was so much fun to see the patterns form under my fingers, and I was ecstatically happy and uplifted as I finished each beautiful project.

Do you enjoy embroidering? It's really not that hard to learn, and there's so much you can do. I've got ideas for quite a few projects, but finding the time is hard. However, it's a great thing to do while watching or listening to a program, making the most of every available moment.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Bowling with the Lofgrens

Before the college students left last August, we went bowling as an early celebration of Elijah's birthday. I took some pictures but never really used them. Feeling like making a slideshow last night, I put the pictures together for a short one.

Family is such a blessing! Memories like these will last a lifetime.