Here are some pictures of our family and ministry from 2007. Enjoy!
December 2007 – “We’re not in Texas anymore, children!” We are living through our second year in Illinois. Not exactly known as “snow country,” but we are rejoicing in the snow God sends. And we are also blessed with a couple of little hills on our property! Caleb, Abigail and Virginia Grace join me for a little adventure in our winter wonderland. All of our Texan friends, come visit! We promise you won’t freeze to death (although Stacy may have a different opinion )!
December 2007 – Some people wonder why we follow the church calendar as a family. This picture sums it up. The focus of the church calendar is a presentation of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we teach our children the life of Christ, they come to understand His great love for us. William, at 2, is fascinated with the simplicity of our family worship as we focus on the first coming of our Lord. May we all look to the Savior this season!
December 2007 – One of our “new” traditions during Advent season is rejoicing at the Sing-a-long Messiah at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Peoria. Handel’s great work is incredibly moving in person, especially as you participate together with Christians of various denominations from the community. Here, Virginia Grace and Emma Katherine, listen to the tenor solo proclaiming the greatness of the Lord. How awesome it is to realize that in Heaven there will no longer be divisions and angst between Christians. We will all stand singing His praise in one accord – Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world Is become the kingdom of our Lord! And of His Christ, and of His Christ! And He shall reign forever and ever! King of kings, forever and ever, And Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
December 2007 – Christmas time is coming! Decorating the house is quite an event for the McDonald family. If we were to select a theme for our tree, it would probably be “The Joyous Church.” We have loads of ornaments depicting churches, ornate crosses, magnificent stars, and musical instruments. Each year, before the instrument ornaments go on the tree, the little ones enjoy giving us a brief concert. I believe this picture captured their presentation of “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Ah, the joy of Christmas!
December 2007 - William, at 2 1/2, is needing a haircut. Fortunately, his mommy has a good set of scissors! He was not having much fun until I found a way to keep his attention. Suddenly, Stacy’s hair clips became duckies! From that point forward, he was pretty pleased. He likes duckies. And, he is growing so fast! Every day the Lord gives is one we cherish. We should all see our children as gifts from the Lord, a true heritage! I often wonder how the Lord will use William to grow His Kingdom. As I wonder, I thank Him more for the gift of this young man to train.
Thanksgiving 2007 - Tiffany gets creative with a camera! Here she snapped a shot of William looking through our homemade place-cards for our Thanksgiving guests. Stacy designed the card a number of years back. They include the name of the guest and a special blessing for each. The children all have fun helping put them together! We had a full house this year! 25 guests in addition to our family. We sang a Psalm, remembered some Pilgrim facts, and feasted! The Sunday after, I spoke on the perseverance of the Pilgrims. We can learn so much from their lives and sacrifice!
November 2007 – One of the joys of being a pastor is seeing the Kingdom of the Lord expand. One way this occurs is when the Lord opens the heart of the lost. Indeed, the “Pauline” experience is one I know well. Yet we often forget the experience of Timothy, who learned the Scriptures while on his mother’s knee. The family in the picture brought their children to the waters of baptism trusting the promises of God (Psalm 103:17-18), and promising to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). This is family reformation lived out!
November 2007 - We had time last week to visit with our dear friends the Niesens at their farmstead. I had time to capture this picture of Jessica and Tiffany in the buggy heading off for adventure! Can you see who has the reigns? A few minutes after this, I heard a crash. Off I ran to find the cart over turned and Tiffany with tears in her eyes. A sprained ankle. But a joyous time nevertheless!
November 2007 - One half of the McDonald children enjoying the crisp days of fall (Abigail, Grace, Emma, William, and Caleb). Stacy and I are contantly amazed how the Lord has restored the years the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). After growing up rebellious and living out the pain of sinful choices, the Lord has still seen fit to use us, broken vessels that we are, for His glory. May He receive the praise! And may all our children walk in the steps of the Savior!
November 2007 – Fall is upon us! And what a time to be a boy! Caleb and I spent all day Monday raking piles of leaves, only to watch them blow away in the gusts of wind. But we did manage to pile up a few! And what else is a pile of leaves good for? Adventure! Caleb takes to the air! No pile of leaves is to big for a man of God! Sometimes in the midst of the complexities and challenges of life, it is comforting to remember that as the the fall leaves testify, the seasons change. Before you know it, the stressful moments are turned into days of rejoicing. How I can’t wait to take to the air!
November 2007 – Stacy and Jennie Chancey (as well as our daughter Tiffany and I) were honored to be Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ guests on Revive Our Hearts! It was very exciting to spend time with Nancy and the crew. We are already hearing many reports on how God is using Stacy and Jennie’s new book to open hearts to the joy of Christian homemaking. May the Lord use the radio broadcast for His glory! Thanks to all who prayer for us while we were away!
Reformation Day Faire 2007 - We had a great day of fellowship this year! Here is a group of the revelers listening to “Martin Luther” talk about his life and exploits. The weather was phenomenal! The day before had been overcast and rainy, yet this day was perfect! We are already getting requests about our 2008 event!
October 2007 - With Reformation Day on the way, many in our church are honing their archery skills. Tiffany, Caleb and a member of Providence have a target in their sites! What a joy it is to see children, young and old, growing in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! They are indeed growing to be sharp arrows to be used for His glory! I pray we will see many of you at Reformation Day!
October 2007 – On a trip down to Birmingham, William went through a few moments of jealousy due to a few other little ones running around. We were visiting our dear friends, Matt and Jennie Chancey. They have been blessed with twins, just a few months younger than William. Our little lad, feeling the need for a little “mommy time” came running to Stacy, jumping in her arms. Tiffany happened to capture the moment – priceless!
September 2007 – OK. I admit it. I love my wife and daughters! So, here is another picture from our visit to an orchard. Stacy and the little ones went to a self pick orchard a few weeks ago and had a joyful time! They came home with loads of apples, and then proceeded to make apple this and apple that, sauces, desserts, and cobblers. Great fun for all, and great food for dad!
September 2007 – It seems as if Summer is refusing to give way to Fall! But this is giving us time to head out as a family to enjoy the outdoors before the cool days come. So, this past week, we were able to enjoy a local orchard. Here is Emma, Grace and Abigail checking out the pumpkins. Stacy and Melissa wandered the gift shop. Caleb, William and I got lost in a corn maze. Jessica and Tiffany were all around rovers, helping with the children and enjoying the sun. What a joy!
September 2007 – It’s still fairly warm here in Central Illinois! The children are enjoying this gift before the onslaught of winter. One of the things our children enjoy, like most others, is running! Grace, Emma, and a slower William are on the way to take the hill! I am sure that William will be giving them a more competitive showing very soon! (By the way, do you notice the John Deere green William is wearing? He loves everything Deere!)
September 2007 – We needed to get another family photo for the cover of the new book. I liked it so much, I wanted to share it with you. The children are growing so fast! And we seem like a smaller bunch without James and Christa. I suppose we are entering into another season of life. Before you know it, William will be as big as Caleb, Caleb and some of his sisters will be off to new lives, and Stacy and I will look older. Ah, but the grandchildren will be here! The seasons of life!
Summer 2007 – This one is a picture of William and Emma traveling is style! When Stacy and I are asked to speak, we bring our children with us. It is not unusual for little legs to get tired. A few years ago, one of our children looked up at Stacy and said, “Mommy, I am too heavy to walk.” Stacy replied, “Honey, you are too heavy for me to carry!” We then came up with the idea of computer bag strollers! These work great – that is unless you make a turn too quickly. It is also helpful to have another child following behind to pick up lost pacifiers! Lastly, this mode of transportation has opened numerous conversations as we have scooted to planes or to speaking assignments.