Archive for the ‘Holidays’ 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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O'Brien Collage

Normally, we celebrate Christmas with Dan’s side of the family in Nebraska at Thanksgiving.  This year, though, there was an ice storm, so our trip was delayed.  We decided to go visit his Mom the week after Christmas while John was still home from college, and that ended up being a very nice time.  Grandma O’Brien’s birthday is also right after Christmas, so it ended up working out for us to take her out to eat for her special day–two celebrations in one!

I really like this picture of John playing his piano pieces for Grandma O’Brien:


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Christmas Day 2015


Christmas Collage

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Looking Spiffy Collage with Text

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Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas Eve Collage

Our family has gotten to where we enjoy Christmas Eve as much as, if not more than, Christmas Day.  2015 was no exception.  We went out to eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and opened our traditional “stocking” gifts (that have been put in bags for years!).  Our church had it’s second annual Christmas Eve candlelight service, and we had several people from the area visit with their families, which was really nice.  We had the kids of our church provide the special music for the evening, and they all did really well.

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Person Gift Collage with text

I don’t know how many years ago I decided to start having the kids draw names to get Christmas gifts for each other, but it has been several.  I originally kept the drawing “secret” just so that they wouldn’t be tempted to pester each other with “I want” requests.  This silly name drawing has turned into one of the kids’ favorite holiday traditions; they love trying to guess who has whom, and it has turned into a big game.

Believe it or not, the kids start asking me to draw names for “their person” in October–sometimes even in September.  They want to know “who they have” so they can “pick just the right thing.”  This whole thing used to be very complicated until I found random.org.  Now I just use the online dice roller to help me be truly random in choosing who has whom.  🙂

Right away the kids start trying to not only figure out what to get “their person,” but also who has whom in the name drawing.  This used to really annoy me, but I guess it’s part of what makes it fun for them, so I have gotten to where I just try to ignore it….

Anyway, this year the kids did a pretty good job of picking presents for “their person.”  Here is how it all worked out this year:

  • John got Cosette a really nice binder and a matching fountain pen for her journaling.
  • Brock got Luke a Nerf gun.
  • Cosette got John a Litograph shirt.  (This is one of the shirts whose design is made by the texts of a classic book.)
  • Luke got Kara some much-loved crochet hooks and pattern book.
  • Kara got Brock some finger picks and a new finger-picking book for his guitar.  (which I love hearing him practice!)

So, our favorite holiday game is finished for this year–but it won’t be long until it all starts up again.  (Sometimes it is even mentioned during the summer…..)

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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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Christmas 2014


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