Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Easter Cantata


I love Easter. It puts the price my Savior paid for my salvation “front and center” and reminds me of His victory over sin and death.  For years I have talked about doing something special to honor this great day.  I’ve thought about how much time and preparations are put into celebrating Christmas, and yet in my own life, somehow Easter often goes by with little more than a few special songs sung at church.  Maybe it’s because Easter falls at a busy time of year–I don’t know, but I decided that this year would be different.

So, right after Christmas, I began to think about what to do that would really make Easter special.  At first I thought about doing something with the kids of our church, but right when I was thinking about these things, I had two or three adults approach me about the idea of doing something for everyone.  So, I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad that I did!

We decided to do Russell Mauldin’s Easter musical, “It is Finished.” This collection of songs with narrations is pretty simple to put together, and I thought it would be a good place to start.  The songs are great, and the story ties everything together well.

We started rehearsals early in the year, and people have been very faithful to come to practice.  The thing that has made this a very special experience is that the members of the group truly love the Lord, and there have been many special moments of worship as we have worked our way through this program.  I think the most precious thing is to see the children sing from their hearts–sometimes even with tears–as they sing praise to our Lord.  It has been amazing.

So, since this weekend is Palm Sunday, this will be our last week of rehearsal before our performance on Easter Sunday,March 27, during our regular worship service at 10:45.  I can’t wait–this special Resurrection Day will be one to always remember!

Cantata Collage

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James Claassen, the station manager of KGCR, helped to organize the Mark Schultz concert in Colby that my family participated in.  He took some awesome pictures the night of the show and graciously gave me permission to post these here on my blog.  I love this post’s heading picture–it was taken off stage while the choir was performing with Mark, and I just think it’s a wonderful picture.  I am going to post a collage of some of James’ other pictures, and then I will post a Smilebox slideshow that shows more of the pictures of the concert and plays the songs that the choir performed with Mark Schultz.

This was a very special evening for all of us–what a wonderful memory of the 2015 Christmas season!

KGCR Collage

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December 2015 brought a special occasion for the Prairie Family.  Mark Schultz came “home” on his tour called A Different Kind of Christmas along with his guest artists, Jon Bauer and Love and the Outcome.  Mark grew up in Colby and was a couple of years behind me in school.  It had been ten years since he had a concert in his hometown because of scheduling conflicts, so having him here was a real treat for our community.

Mark had contacted the college choir director about having a group of local people join him on stage to sing the last three songs of the show.  Our family was asked to be a part of this, and we were delighted to do so!  Of course, it was neat for me to see Mark do what he does best, but my kids have grown up admiring Mark as the great performer that he is.  So, it was a real treat for them to be able to sing with him.

The concert was sold-out in advance of the performance.  Even though Dan was not in the choir, he still helped with the concert by helping to unload sound equipment and driving performers and staff on errands the afternoon of the show.  He said he especially enjoyed meeting and talking with Jon Bauer.

Here is a collage of pictures from the practices that the choir had for the show:

Mark Schultz Collage


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Stocking Collage with text

Every year since Dan and I got married, I have made buttons representing important events from the previous year to put on our family Christmas stockings.  Getting the stockings out each year and remembering all of the fun things on the buttons has gotten to be a favorite Prairie Family Christmas tradition.

Here are the 2015 button additions:

  • Dan–God’s continual presence through life’s changes
  • Lois–Lots and lots and lots of music lessons
  • John–1st year at Kansas State University
  • Brock–playing the guitar
  • Cosette–writing in her journal every day for a year
  • Luke–going to Bethel Bible Camp
  • Kara–joining the Colby Community College band

It seems like I get these finished later and later each year, but so far I haven’t missed Christmas day!  🙂

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HCS Collage

So, the night of the Christmas program arrived.  There were lots of parents, grandparents, and friends in the audience, and the kids all did a wonderful job.  We had a few difficulties with the CD accompaniment, and I really don’t know what we could have done differently to avoid it.  Beginning a day or two before the performance, the CD player started skipping on certain songs, and when I took the CD out of the player, it was all scratched.  Since I record these cd’s myself, I just went home and made 3 new copies and thought that would take care of the problem.  It didn’t.  The night of the performance, ALL of the cd’s skipped like crazy, even though they were brand new.  I don’t know if there was a problem with the player or just what was going on!  It’s times like that, though, that I just take a deep breath, and go on as best as we can.  In this case, that meant doing several of the songs with no accompaniment at all.  Normally, you would expect that to be a disaster.  Most people (not to mention kids) would completely freak out to sing a solo on stage with no accompaniment!  But not these kids!  They just went right on and sang wonderfully!  They even got the key changes!  LOL!  I had several people comment that it was kind of neat hearing the kids sing by themselves, so maybe I ought to just plan an a capella song or two from now on!

Like I said, I really don’t know what else we could have done in this situation.  Maybe in the future, I just need to go directly from a laptop or my iPad to avoid the whole CD issue.  I don’t know.  Technology is wonderful when it works, and a real pain when it doesn’t!

Anyway, I haven’t written anything about the preschool and kindergarten classes.  They had their own part of the program called Christmas in our JammiesThis was a fun little program to do!  The kids all came to the program in their jammies, which, of course, was adorable.  The idea of the show is that the kids are ready to go to bed on Christmas Eve and are told the story of Christ’s birth for their bedtime story.  Prior to the show, I went in to the school and took pictures of the kids acting out the Christmas story, and these slides were shown during the program.  That was a fun way to do costumes!  Normally costumes are just kind of stressful, but doing it in a casual setting was kind of like playing dress up, and the kids and I all had a great time taking those pictures!

Now you, my blog-reading friends, are in for a real treat!  I have put the pictures of the preschoolers that we used during the program into this slide show to share here on The Prairie Family Chronicles.  I am so thankful that God gave me the privilege of working with all of these great kids.  I am truly blessed!

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Early Rehearsal Collage

This was my second year of helping lead the Christmas program for the preschool and elementary students at Heartland Christian School.  I can’t even begin to express what a great experience this is–every step, every lesson, every student, and every faculty member–all of them are such blessings! This year Grades 1-5 performed Celeste Clydesdale’s new Christmas musical entitled A Tree Lot Christmas. This show tells the story of a group of kids who hold a Christmas tree sale along with a bake sale to raise money to buy presents for children in their community.  The sale is held in the parking lot of a toy store whose owner is pretty skeptical about Christmas and only enjoys the season because it brings him big sales.  Through the testimony of the children, however, the store keeper comes to know the true meaning of the birth of our Savior, and his life is never the same.   Late Collage

Each production has it’s challenges, and this one was no exception.  Our biggest obstacles this year were all things completely out of our control that affected our rehearsals–things like storms that led to school cancellations.  God knew all about those things, though, and He is always faithful to provide for every situation.  In this case, He provided through a wonderful set of kids who did their very best and faculty that were flexible to do what was necessary to pull the show together.

It is always a joy to see how God works through these programs, and this year was very special.

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This year God has blessed me with sixteen wonderful music students (this does not include my own kids)!  There are 13 piano students, 2 violin students, and 1 voice student.  Although I never really sought out being a music teacher, it is what God has laid in my lap at this time of my life.  And my life is so rich because of it!  I am blessed to have wonderful people coming in every day to share music with me–how can it get any better than that?!  And it’s not just music–what a fantastic way to get to meet families that I might not ever get to know otherwise.  I am truly rich!

Recently, one of my youngest students wanted to play “Jesus Loves Me” for church.  This video will show why I love my music students so much:

Life doesn’t get much better than this!  🙂

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Five Kids Selfie

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KSU Collage

We had the privilege of visiting John at KSU on Labor Day.  It was so wonderful to see him and to have all of my five kids together again for a few hours.

John is doing extremely well.  Shortly after arriving at KSU, he quickly discovered that his heart was not into math like he thought it was.  Instead, every time he heard the band practicing or walked by the music building, he just wanted to be there doing music.  So, we discussed the pro’s and cons, and John made the decision to change his major to music education.  The music faculty were wonderful helping him to get all of the classes switched that he needed to change, and everything worked out well.

So John has a full load of first semester music classes, and he is loving every minute of it.  His main instrument is piano, but he is following a choral music track.  So, he spends many hours each week practicing the piano and many more going to music theory classes, choir, etc.  Of course, he still has his general ed courses too, so he is still taking Calculus, a writing class, and a history class.  He also has to attend a certain number of a variety of types of recitals each semester, so he has been enjoying that as well.

God is continuing to guide John each step of the way, and that is so neat to see.  He is still looking for just the right church.  He’s visited a few places, but “the one” has not jumped out at him yet.  So, we are praying for that.  Having a strong, loving church family is so important.  We know there is one out there, we are just praying that God will lead him to it.

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Water Balloon Collage

Our church has had a pretty long-standing tradition of using a giant sling shot to shoot water balloons as far as possible.  It had actually been a couple of years since we had done this, and I decided this year was a good time to bring it back.  So, last Sunday we spent a few minutes just enjoying the kids of our church–some of whom are new to our church family and haven’t gotten to try out this wonderful activity before!

The kids (and adults) all had a good time.  We even brought our water rocket bottle launcher to add into the fun.  Our little country church is blessed with a wonderful bunch of kids–I love them all!

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