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well folks, i haven’t had time to write up posts galore on all our recent adventures. instead, i have been catching up on uploading videos from 2014 onto youtube. if you have a moment, feel free to check them out.

{did you know that it can take my computer 2 hours to upload a 3 minute video? stinker. but praise the lord for our faithful little computer that has cooperated with uploading videos non stop despite the many repairs!}

—>>> this is me on youtube. <<<—

and that’s it. cheerio!

Where are you going?

2014 is now officially history.  Another year has passed and in spite of the busy days and all too short nights, it seems appropriate, even necessary perhaps, to pause for a moment and contemplate . . . to wonder what it means to be another year older . . . to consider what we have accomplished – or maybe failed to accomplish – in the last 365 days . . . and certainly to reevaluate our goals and priorities.

When you are young, life is an unending delight; every week, month, and year offers challenges to be conquered and experiences to savor as we doggedly pursue our dreams.  All the world is fresh and interesting, optimism is in the air and excitement is only natural. This is the way that our Creator intended for it to be, it is young people who build railroads, sign up for expeditions to foreign lands, win wars, care for those who are less capable than themselves, insist that justice be done, blaze new trails for the world to criticize, and create new homes as they raise the next generation. But there will come a day when you will stop to catch your breath . . . and then you will notice the view. You will realize that the roughest part of your journey is over and you will suddenly realize that the summit of all you have worked for and pursued is not very distant after all. Then you will have to look around you – not at the immediate scenery – but at that vast expanse that surrounds your mountain. Will you have toiled (however joyfully and enthusiastically) towards an isolated peak with no reward but the scenery? Will you have spent your life pursuing a dream that, in the end is after all, only as beautiful and transient as the clouds that soar beyond the end of the trail? Will you sigh alone on the summit of your dreams only to wish that you had climbed another whose steps, though more humble, led to a more exalted, meaningful destination?

Twenty-one years have passed in my short life. In terms of life experience, I have experienced more than most young men my age but I fall very short of qualifying as ‘experienced’. Many things have interested me at one time or another and I have seriously considered climbing many mountains. All of them were scenic, and interesting, most were off the beaten track, and a few particularly interesting ones were virtually unexplored. I carefully weighed my options, always scanning the horizon as I sought to expand my frontiers. I finally chose to pursue a dream that led to a completely unexplored peak. The risks were high and almost everyone told me it couldn’t be done. It was so far removed from the popular destinations that it was actually off the map. But, it had great potential and I was determined to blaze a trail that might one day become a highway. And then I was allowed by God’s grace to see what I and everyone else my age usually miss. I thought back over my nineteen years and realized that, if I lived to be eighty years old, my life was almost a quarter of the way over – and a lot of people don’t live to see their eightieth birthday. I realized that dreams die with you but highways last as long as people seek and use them. I saw that in the end it really didn’t matter if I blazed a new trail . . . what mattered was how my destination affected the rest of humanity. Few people choose their paths for the impact their destination will have on others and fewer still choose such a path out of a sincere desire to assist others – even to the point of losing all.

So pause for a moment. Let the rush of life move on past. Think back over the year; begin in January and re-live the last year; remember all the happy memories that were made, celebrate again the achievements, feel the touching moments, and thank the Lord for allowing you to live another year and praise Him for all the blessings He poured out upon it. And now look forward – where are you going? Why? Where were you going last January? It is a little sobering to know that you are living a limited life that will someday end and that you are expected as a believer in the Lord Jesus to walk a trail that leads to a worthy destination. I am no longer blazing the trail of my former dreams – it isn’t worth my numbered days on this earth. It still interests me and I sometimes find myself looking longingly over my shoulder towards its mysterious and enticing peak. (And I still believe I could do it in spite of the numerous naysayers ;) ). I have chosen instead to pursue a rough trail that leads to a summit that is far from glamorous or respected but that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt will lead to a meaningful destination.

Where will you go? What is your dream and how will it affect those around you or around the world?

Stay tuned for Part 2.

The All-Of-A-Kind Competitive Family

We have to admit it.  There’s no way to avoid the obvious fact.  We are naturally competitive.

 Now, Dad and Mom have always stressed the importance of good sportsmanship to we children and I can recall several instances from childhood when I had to apologize for having a bad attitude over losing a game or competition.  They always told us that poor sportsmanship was really an issue of selfishness and lack of humility.  The older I’ve grown and the more I have observed people, I’ve come to realize that this is true – and definitely not very appealing.

So, we enjoy good-natured competition in our large family.  If you win, yell YEEHAW!!!  And if you lose?  Congratulate the winner and make an inner resolve to do better next time.  There is usually good motivation. :)

Well, when these competitive people had an afternoon off, they probably just sat on their front porch steps and wondered how many clouds were in the sky, right?   Not quite.  Don’t get me wrong . . . I count clouds sometimes and it can be quite an adventure.   But we chose a slightly more exciting option.  *GRINS*
We drove over to a local fun Zone – batting cages, mini golf, and last BUT NOT LEAST, go-karts.  *GRINS EVEN BIGGER*

We started off first with the batting cages.  This past summer, we became aware of a strong desire to play baseball and the great need of practiced batters.  Enter – batting cages.  Everyone grabbed a helmet and a bat and off we went, braving the unknown.

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Dad, the path-paving-hero, went first.

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Next up – mini golf.

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We split into two teams and worked from opposite ends of the course, so that it wouldn’t take too long to process everyone through.

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Then we all trooped back inside to add up the scores.

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And then, where do you think we went?  It was a freeeeezing cold day – and there was a good bit of wind too.  But it didn’t bother anyone . . . we marched straight over to those go-karts which were screaming our names, plopped inside, buckled in . . .
AND OFF WE WENT!  *zoom*  *screech*  *crash*  *bump*  *scream*  *yahoo!*  *yeehaw!*

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Imagine, if you can, a family of twelve, all in go-karts, racing and racing and racing around the track – bumping others out of their way, yelling with delight.  It was great fun!  Kristen shared a double kart with Mom, and Micah shared one with Dad so that everyone could be included.  Did you know that certain members forgot that their kart had such a thing called brakes?  Now you do.   Is it any wonder that Dad told me that it would be another two years before I could drive?  *guilty grin*

What a wonderful way to celebrate Lydia’s birthday :)

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Oh, and I forgot to mention that several of the older kids received a coupon for go-karts rides on Christmas, so . . .

You’ll probably see some more crazy fun soon :)

Until then . . . enjoy life’s adventures . . . especially in go-karts.

Food, Fun, Fellowship n’ More // in which we attend a fall fun day and end up dancing the afternoon away

Dust off your boots, grab your partner and come out to the farm for a fun-filled family day.

It was an invitation that excited their imaginations.  They checked the calendar to make sure they saved the correct date, and then checked again.  The weeks seemed to tick by slowly as they anticipated the opportunity to experience the day they had heard so much about.  The night before, they hung up their outfits and then ran to bed, smiling and grinning.

And then . . . the morning dawned.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  The sky was a bold, azure blue with those fluffy clouds that chase each back and forth and enjoy their games of wind-blown tag.  The family was up early in the frosty air, doing farm chores, each silent and wrapped in their own thoughts and dreams of the day.  They had been invited to a huge farm for a big day with lots of fun and people and food and dancing.  They had heard stories of competitions, games, fellowship, barn dancing and everything else that could attract country folk like themselves.  They had looked forward to the day, this day, for so long that it was hard to believe that it was actually here.
A rush, a last-minute outfit check, a whirlwind and a car ride later they were pulling into a friends driveway and parking among the ‘cow pies’.

And so began our adventure.

You know those days that are so full of goodies and sun rays that you have a senses overload and you can’t properly digest everything that comes your way?  All you know is that it’s beautiful and you don’t want the day to ever end. Ever since I asked God to help me cultivate a continuous heart of gratitude, I’ve had those days quite often.  I call it taking joy in the simple things.  Often times, the simplest things that you would normally pass by are the biggest treasures of all and they make the best memories.   It’s the golden sunshine streaming in the window, or the fluffy clouds that race across the sky.  It’s the contagious laughter of a child or the light of passion in someone’s eye.  It’s the smell of pine in the breeze or the contrast of red and blue in my favorite plaid shirt.  It’s the encouraging note found in the mailbox or the hug Dad gives me when he gets home from a long day of work.   Those simple things can be the most beautiful things.  If you take the time to notice them and express thanks for them, they can make an ordinary day an extraordinary one.

 That was this day.  

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lumber-jack competition!

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And what an adventure it was!

Thank you Alexander Family!

Oh, and I have a lot of videos of the dancing, so if you’re interested in seeing how much fun we had, leave a comment and ask me to post them. ;)