Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lovin' the Weekends

     Even though Thanksgiving was our first holiday without Grandpa Howard, we were able to celebrate with grateful hearts the fact that he is pain free in Heaven.  Oh, the peace and joy that floods our hearts when we think about the awesome gift of salvation!  As Pastor Korver said in his message on Thursday morning, "Indiscriminate, or reckless, thanksgiving powerfully releases joy in us."  Let the meaning of that sink in for a minute!  He reminded us of this verse from I Thessalonians:  "Rejoice always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  We took that verse to heart and just thoroughly enjoyed making a lot of family memories all weekend long: 

Delicious lunch at Grandma Bonnie's house

Farm "fun" for the guys

Reconnecting with cousins.  Haley spent her summer in Africa, and Grant spent his summer at boot camp.

Our first-ever all-night shopping trip with Coach Cherie and Team Thessalonians!  Yep, midnight till 12 noon on Friday!

Carpetball champion of the weekend at both family gatherings, Miss Haley Westerkamp!

Just a few of our adorable blond-haired nieces and cousins

Creating a scrapbook to give my grandma when she celebrates her 90th birthday in January
     One of the coolest things about all these pictures is the fact that all of these people share the same joy that only Christ can bring into our hearts!  What a rich family heritage we have!

     This weekend looks a little different from the rather warm and brownish-colored fall landscape we experienced last weekend.  It's a winter wonderland!  It's one of those weekends where you just want to stay warm in your jammies, cozy up by the fire, sip hot chocolate, and watch a good Christmas movie or, in my case, submerge yourself in some scrapbooking fun.  The snow started gently falling yesterday afternoon around 2:30, and it was just the most delightful sight!  Beautiful, glistening, and heavenly!  No wind and not terribly cold.  Perfect! 

     The only challenge was that it started just a bit too early to suit me because the trek to pick up Heath's medical records at two separate hospitals in the QC was complicated not only by the Friday-afternoon, Christmas-shopping traffic but also by the first snowfall of the season as well.  It was slick out, and everyone was forced to learn how to drive in all this white stuff again!  Kelsey decided to go with me so we could pick up some dance tights for her, and what probably could have been done in an hour earlier in the day ended up taking two hours of our time.  Nevertheless, it was great bonding time for us, and when we got home, we were ready to eat a hot bowl of soup from the crock pot and then dive into our planned night of picture fun.  Keaton had his friend Jordan over for a sleepover, Haley had a baby-sitting job, Heath and Jenny played a board game, and Harris was gone to Pella.  He'll be off on a mission by himself to a tractor sale with his dad's truck this weekend, so it's yet another set of emotions and circumstances for him to work through after losing his dad. 

     While praying for him, the rest of us plan to just thoroughly enjoy this very relaxing, low-key, beautiful weekend at home.  We're anxiously anticipating Heath's repeat MRI on Tuesday, and he's also preparing for finals next week.  We're very thankful to report that he'll end up with all A's despite all the circumstances going on in his life!  If we let ourselves slip into worry mode, honestly, it can be rather stressful, but until then, we're just going to continually remind ourselves to stand firm on the foundation of our faith.  We're committing to rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances, knowing that this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus.  Again, it is only by the grace of God that we have made it thus far.

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