Our Little Men

02.17.15

posted by Stelzl Family in Family News

12 and 7 years ago 2 very special little men were born into our family. The first was a gift brought about by a heart change and God’s gracious blessing; the second was a miracle because he fought his way bravely into this world with “all odds against him”. God is sovereign. Grace and love are not factored into chance. And though the doctors said it should not have been, it was HIS perfect plan – from the beginning of time.

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“This is the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

We love these 2 very much. They are precious in more ways than we can count.

These little men have very big hearts – they serve our family each day by emptying the trash, folding laundry, and tidying house. They tackle house projects with Daddy and the older guys. They want to be involved in whatever it is that needs doing – even taking on entrepreneurial endeavors at their small ages. They diligently study to learn. They are kind and giving, consistently looking for ways to make life “special” for various ones – a flower for mom, a note sent through the mail to someone, assistance with cleaning or meal-preparations, and the list goes on.

They have great goals and aspirations. They can be found reading their Bible every single morning, and perhaps copying down some verses in their notebook or journal. They share insights from the Word during family devotions and “good news” during gratitude time. They are truly little men that seek, like David, to be men after God’s own heart.

Happy Birthday Josiah and Timothy! We love you and pray God’s richest blessings on you in this new year ahead.

West Virginia Travels | Happy New Year!

02.03.15

posted by Stelzl Family in Friends & Fellowship

Following a very full and exciting week with friends from KS (Christmas), we spent the next 24 hours packing for yet another adventure. The Staddons invited us to their beautiful WV home for the New Year!

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The evening of our arrival (New Year’s Eve), the Staddons had several guests come for a special time of music that they had prepared, fun foods, and games. Sadly, not all stayed awake for the coming of the New Year ;-).

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Games, games and more games! This is how it usually goes when Stelzls visit Staddons. Bud chess, settlers of catan, dutch blitz, football… and a variety of other indoor and outdoor games. The Staddons taught us some new board games and card games, and we showed them how to play a favorite card game and group game that we learned over Christmas!

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Ice cream one evening… delicious!

The girl had an opportunity to visit some of the people around town – bread deliveries for David, who makes and sells fresh whole wheat breads, and also a tea time with one sweet elderly lady who welcomed us over for the afternoon. Hot chocolate, apple pies, and much conversation!

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Some of us girls also enjoyed singing around the piano one evening.

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The parents played Scrabble and other fun games, and went on a double date one evening while all of the kids had a grand time back at the house.

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Ping-pong in the garage. This happens to be another favorite Stelzl/Staddon activity.

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“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1

The Staddons are such a blessing and encouragement – and so much fun to be around! We truly enjoyed our visit, and look forward to the next time that our paths cross. Thank you Staddons for your gracious hospitality, and sweet friendship – we love you all!

Like Family

12.30.14

posted by Sarah in Family Fun, Friends & Fellowship

Meet the S Family – this lovely group of people found one of our blogs and started reading a while back… which led to following other blogs. Someone left a comment {which we all read}, mentioning a little about their family and life and entrepreneurial endeavors…

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<The Billy Graham Library, Christmas 2014>

This past June we attended a homeschool conference in Nashville TN… and guess who sat in the row behind us that entire week…? I turned around at the end of the first evening session, and someone said “You’re The Country Muffin!” And that’s how our families officially met in person.

What drew our families together is quite a story. Through a series of divinely appointed events…

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Their son Nathan started talking on the phone with David on a weekly basis, shortly after the conference in June. I started emailing the mom and writing the daughters. We exchanged occasional phone calls as well. Then in July someone came up with the big idea that we should invite this sweet family to come for Christmas.

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<The Farming Game…>

It was really just a passing thought… I mean seriously, who is going to drive over 20 hours from KS to visit a family they hardly know for an entire week – and during the Christmas season?! It was a nice idea.

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<Ice-cream sundaes on Saturday>

They liked it. We liked it.

But some sticky circumstances made it difficult. Dog care for 4 dogs. A place to stay on the way. Scheduling details {with relatives wanting to visit them as well}…

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We had to prepare ourselves *many* times to give up the whole idea. Doors kept opening, and closing… opening and closing. The visit did not look very promising… but we were still hopeful.

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<S & S sisters… and… a gingerbread house building contest!>

And then someone announced that it was happening. Actually happening! The news was shared with our family through a very creative message written on a whiteboard. We laughed and squealed, and talked and talked and talked about how *excited* we were! Gifts were prepared and special foods planned… and activities!

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<Games and puzzles… so so many! >

And then, Wednesday December 24th they arrived!! They were scheduled to arrive Tuesday evening, but terrible weather conditions made it that the trip took *much* longer than planned. Bethany and I were the *very happy* 2 who waited up until past 1 am to hug all our stranger friends as they piled in through the front door – exhausted, hungry, and happy. :-)

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<4 on a couch>

What a week! 7 days packed FULL of excitement!

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Singing, games, football, basketball, thrift-store shopping, family devotionals, gingerbread-house building contest, a birthday celebration, laughing, fellowshipping over food, hugs, wrestling, reading, story-telling, baking, early mornings and late/early nights 😉 …

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On one occasion we took them to a fun grocery store, Trader Joe’s {they live a LONG way from just about any store that is familiar to most of us} – Mrs. S and all her daughters plus the 3 of us Stelzl girls. Many people stopped to ask if we were all sisters, and we had a lovely conversation with a sweet polish lady who was stocking shelves, and a fun mother of 4 whose bright smile encouraged us to stop and thank her for being a cheerful worker.

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<The Billy Graham Library>

We played crazy football in soft squishy mud after lots of rain… slipping and sliding… and then indoors to scrub out all our clothes and be clean again.

The guys worked on David’s van, tightening the power steering belt and replacing the hose. :-)

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We played basketball… a small injury resulted in unexpected excruciating pain a few hours later, and then a trip to the bone doctor day after Christmas to see if an ankle fracture had occurred. Many hands worked together to help me recover quickly. A tea soak, oils, crutches, a brace, and even a sweet sister climbing up into my bunk bed to wrap my foot up for me when I couldn’t move or help myself at all. Games helped the pain to be a little more bearable. The bruised bone {fractured tiny outer layer on the bone} recovered in less than 2 days and soon we were back outside playing football, capture the flag, follow the judge to court, and other fun games {including after-dark games}.

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We visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte and then drove to Mcadenville {also known as Christmas Town USA} to see the beautiful Christmas lights all throughout the town.

One evening the parents went out on a dinner date, and all the kids stayed behind to eat homemade pizza and have a blast!

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<Gingerbread house building contest – Team 1: Abigail, Bethany, David, Hannah, Rachel, Jonathan>

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<Team 2 – Sarah, Ruth, Josiah, Timothy, Nathan, Naomi>

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We took a walk throughout the neighborhood on Christmas day, which involved a few of us girls chasing away 2 over-friendly dogs {we had brought along our 2 german shepherds} while the others started back towards home… and then we raced down the hill to catch up with them.

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<Silly faces 😉 >

We talked about embarrassing moments. A few actually occurred during various outings planned throughout the visit, which made for much laughter around the table at dinner time! :-)

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Naomi and I {both in pink} have so much in common that everyone began calling us “the twins”. We discovered a few more pairs of twins between our families as well… and even 2 sets of triplets 😉 … which made things all the more fun!

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One thing we love about the S family is that they say “Good Mornin’ ” in a really fun way… no matter what time of day it is. It’s a fun greeting that makes everyone smile, and it’s especially funny when it’s later in the evening or well into the afternoon.

It’s rather contagious…in fact, it’s quickly becoming a Stelzl phrase 😉 …

Just for the record, between our 2 families we have a lot of fun phrases and sayings in common. It’s super fun when you can say “You mean y’all say that too!?”

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<S & S Families Christmas 2014>

It’s rare. So rare in life that you meet a family that you hit it off with right away. A connection takes place, a bonding is established. You find yourself relating to them in so many ways… agreeing on big and small matters… seeing things from the same perspective. You laugh about the same things and share similar concerns. Simple conversations become heart to heart talks wherein both walk away encouraged and challenged toward a deeper friendship and a closer walk with Christ.

That’s how it was with the S family. It was more than a visit with great people. It was more than a time of getting to know friends as better FRIENDS. It was more then fun and food and fellowship.

It was beautiful connection.

As we said to one another all week long… y’all are like family now.

Thank you so much S family for coming *so* far, and going through *so much* to make this visit happen. We are grateful that the Lord worked this out, and are truly looking forward to the next visit!!

We love you all so much. <3

See more pictures here.

:-)

Smoky Mountain Backpacking Trip

12.03.14

posted by Stelzl Family in Family Fun, Trips & Travels

November 14th – November 16th, 2014

Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

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At the trail head… starting off into the wilderness for 3 days. The field behind us was full of elk {they had moved farther down by the time we took this picture}.

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The first evening… FREEZING and trying to keep warm around a toasty fire. The temperature was a high of 30’s that day.

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Food always tastes better around a campfire in the mountains…especially roasted hot dogs and toasted buns. Grateful to have remembered the ketchup this time 😉 !

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Keeping warm… warm fires were a highlight of this trip. :-)

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Approaching camp on the second day.

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Morning sleepy faces – just for the record, the adorable little guy on the left *never* did run out of energy. 😉

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Playing in the river… we did that for a while on the second afternoon after arriving at camp a little early.

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Historical site along the trail… this house depicts the lives of early settlers. Not far from the trail head there were a church and school house built in the early 1900’s, also 2 cemeteries that we passed.

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Heading home. :-)

Family Fun Day

11.18.14

posted by Sarah in Family Fun, Friends & Fellowship

Each Fall the families in our church like to get together and camp out for a weekend (at a local state park), or have a day of fellowship, food, and fun! This year we had the privilege of hosting the family fun day at our home.

Many hands (and thoughtful minds) worked together to organize games, relay races, contests, and fun activities for the families to enjoy together. Prizes were picked out for the winning teams (teams were organized by families), and meals arranged. It’s a tradition to have ‘walking tacos’ at lunch – basically a bag (or plate) of corn chips with all the mexican toppings. We ordered pizza for dinner, and made a bonfire with s’mores at dark.

Fun times! Here are a few pictures from the day. :-)

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The first of many clues…

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Blindfolded obstacle course – fathers led their families around obstacles, by calling out directions (and others were allowed to yell all sorts of confusing directions to try and steer them off course).

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Keeping time

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The marshmallow race – grab your marshmallow, put it on a spoon. Run to the other end of the yard and back (without dropping it!). If you drop it, pick it up and turn around three times without dropping it. You are racing other members of the opposing teams and want to get your team through the fastest!

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Write 4 words – the goal is for the person at the back of each team line to pass up 4 words (one letter at a time) – and the person at the front of each team has to correctly collect the letters as they are passed up (written on backs, no talking allowed!) and write them down. The team with the most correct words wins.

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Friends :-)

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The balloon race…tie on your balloon(s) (a certain number of balloons required per team) and run across the yard and back without popping it or losing it (both happened by the way!). In the end you have to pop it so your next team member can run. Get your team through the fastest. If you lose your balloon or pop it, you have to get another one on and finish!

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Move the mulch pile relay race!! Oh yeah! Families work together to get 6 big buckets of mulch collected and raced down to the garden (a designated trail and dumping place were marked out in the garden).

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The H family discusses who will shovel, run the buckets, etc. Only 2 people allowed to shovel at once. Teamwork here guys!!

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Go teams go!!

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Volcano game… move your family across the yard with pieces of cardboard. No one can ever step off the cardboard pieces, and you have to always have a free piece of cardboard to keep the team making progress! Cardboard pieces are lost by letting go (which means you can choose to run the entire yard and earn one back) or stepping off.

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Sweet brothers at play.

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Family/team legged race!

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IMG_2563What a blast! We so enjoyed our time as families – fellowshipping, participating in the different activities, and eating fun foods together. Thank you to all the sweet families who came to spend the day and make our time extra special! We are looking forward to next year’s event (whatever that may be)! :-)

P.S. Thanks to Hannah for *all* these fun pictures! :-)