After 6 weeks of practicing and hard work we thought it was appropriate to take a sabbatical from our intense music schedule. However, that did not mean we had a lack of projects. In fact, Mom had quite a long list of things that needed to be done around the house. We had a blast dejunking, cleaning, organizing, and even demolishing around our house and the building.

At the beginning of the week, John got up onto the roof of our building and found that there were large puddles of water, from a recent rainstorm that had not draining properly. This led to the discovery that this has been going on for a long time. In fact, the water had started eroding the roof and side of the building away. After this discovery John knew that he had his whole week's work cut out for him.

Project #1: Fix the puddle problem!

First things first: GET RID OF THE WATER!!!


They even found mold inside one of the walls.
Graham, Isaac, and Marilee were more than happy to help John take the wall out.

I hope you know how to put up new walls as well as you know how to take them down...

Its gone! Now what...
Project #2: Fix the roof!

The steps to fixing a leaky roof are...

#1: Creatively thinking of a way to get the 50 lb. roll of tar paper up onto the roof of the building.

#2: Measure, cut, and nail the paper onto the roof

#3: Spread tar over the paper, and put the shingles on.

How does it taste Graham?

Mission accomplished!
If you don't know already I must say that tar is a huge MESS and sticks to everything!!!
But its mighty fun to play in, right boys?

Are you ready to practice again?

In case you were wondering, we did not stop practicing all together.
Dad and the boys were going to sing for our church service on Sunday and so they put together an arrangement for the beautiful hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.

Guess what the girls get to do while the boys sing. We get to take a break and LISTEN!!!
We will be praying for you!

That weekend we drove down to Benkelman, Ne to play at their County Fair. It was a beautiful day and the temperature was perfect.

I know we don't seem to be looking the right way, but we were very interested in what was going on in the corral.

None of us had ever seen a Cattle Dog Show before. It was fascinating to watch the dogs herd the cattle through an obstacle course. It was amazing to see the difference between the really good dogs that were strictly obedient to their masters and were able to get the cattle through the course quickly and easily, and the dogs that did their own thing and ended up not even being able to finish the course. We realized that we are the same way, when we follow exactly what the Lord wants us to do and are obedient to His commands then we can accomplish anything. But if we go about life relying on our own wisdom and strength then we can only expect to fail.

After we had finished setting up and we looked around, we found that Marilee had disappeared. However, it did not take long to find her and we found that she had managed to make friends with a couple horses, dogs, and any other animal she could find. She was in heaven...

All her dreams came true when she actually got to ride one of the horses!

She said that this "was the best day" of her life...

The performance went really well and we had a really nice audience. We felt God's Spirit as we shared a message of peace founded in Jesus Christ. We felt so blessed to meet and be among the people of Benkelman. THANK YOU for making us feel so welcome!!!


So next week we will get back to work and start a new school year. Our goal this year is to BEE industrious and hard working students, right Graham, Isaac, and Marilee?

"Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest..."
Exodus 34:21


Since I missed last week, I thought I had better go back and hit the highlights; it was a very significant week for us!

Congratulations Graham, Isaac, and Marilee!!! You have graduated from your first music summer camp! It was a very busy and productive 6 weeks. They did very well and we (the instructors, Katie, John, and I) are very pleased with their efforts and hard work. It has been fun to learn new music as well as improve our skills.

This final week of summer camp has been exciting and here are some of the highlights of our week.

Wednesday July 20th,

If you are wondering what we were doing there? Well, we were wondering that too. Before we came to Nebraska we had never even been to a county fair much less performed at one. So when we were asked to perform at the Dawson County Fair this year we were shocked. Having no idea what to expect, we got together an hours worth of our favorite songs and then tied them all together with a hillbilly narrative. We are so grateful for the Lord's help as we try to branch out and do new things.

We had to wait for quite a while before we could set up the sound system so as you can see John took advantage of the time and got some school work in. Keep studying John!

Surprise Surprise!
Seth took our banjo apart and found to our astonishment a couple of the pick that we had "lost". I guess the banjo has just become our new lost and found.

What is the trademark of all hillbillies? Bib Overalls! So we started our program with a song that praises the effectiveness and versatility of bib overalls.
"They're' the greatest things since fig leaves"
right Seth?

In Joseph's narrative, our hillbilly "Zeb" (Graham) decides to travel the world in search for "glory". He decides to start by going to Mexico where he participates in a fiesta.
However, "Zeb" knows that that is not what he is looking for so he dreams of joining the army and "marching to a beat."

We could not leave out our "long bow act."
Throughout the narrative "Zeb" searches high and low for the thing that will give him peace and by the end of our program, he finally realizes that the only way to obtain true peace and happiness is through Jesus Christ.


We practiced all morning, imagine that. After lunch we packed a picnic as well as all of our instruments and headed down to Alma to play for our friends at the Hillcrest Terrace and Villa. We put together a program of some of the songs that we had practiced during summer camp. It was the perfect way to wind up our camp. Afterward in celebration, we went down to the Harlan Lake and enjoyed the great outdoors. There is nothing like swimming in a real lake! Its very refreshing.
The "sand'wiches" were great and the picnic was another success! Thank you Mom!
Hope you enjoyed your popcorn Dad!

What are you reading Katie?
It wouldn't happen to be about India would it?
What's that?
Are you going to ski barefoot?

This is the biggest slingshot I have ever seen!
It was able to shoot rocks out to the yellow boundary bouy that you can barely see in this picture!

The boat contest was hilarious to watch and they had a great time.
The goal was to stay afloat while trying to sink the other boat. Its harder than it looks.
John and Seth are great boat engines. Right Graham and Isaac?

uh oh...

I'm not sure what point is being made here. It looks interesting though.

Is that Excaliber?

Hats off everyone in memory of... well maybe not.
It was a great afternoon and the water as well as the weather was delightfully warm. We love to get outside as much as we can and we love to see and be apart of God's wonderful creations. Nature is very special to us and we treasure the times that we get to spend in it.

The next day we drove to Omaha to spend Friday and Saturday morning with Covey, Melody, and Mack. It was so fun to see them again. Mack is growing up so fast. He smiles all the time now and is starting to make the cutest baby sounds.

Friday evening, we went swimming in the hotel pool and we tried to get Mack to join in the fun. But as you can see in this picture he did not seem to enjoy the idea of getting his feet wet.
Our summer baby!!!
Thank you Covey and Melody... We love the time we get to spend with you.

On the way home from Omaha, we stopped in Aurora and played at a couple of the nursing homes there. As we played the music for these wonderful people we again felt the Lord's Spirit confirm to our hearts that this is what He wants us to be doing.

We love being able to cheer these people's day with a little music!

We feel so grateful for the Lord's help and blessings. We have learned many valuable skills and lessons as we have worked to accomplish our summer camp goals. We have felt the Lord directing us as we have served Him and we have been able to spend time with those that we love most. Whenever, I think of all the blessings and tender mercies that I have seen in my life it always motivates me to continue to do anything that would serve and please Him. So we continue to move forward in the path that He is leading us on and pray that we can be true and faithful to the end.

"And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."
2 Nephi 31:15

How can this BE!

This week we celebrated our 4th anniversary of moving to Holdrege!!! What a day that was. We LOVE Nebraska and we have never regretted the move. Not ONCE! We just cannot believe we have been here four years. Where has the time gone. We are full of gratitude that the Lord took us out of the big city and allowed us to move to NEBRASKA! As Dad would say its the best state in the union!!

Well life continues to fly by and this week marks the 5th and second to last week of Summer Camp. Everyone practiced well and have continued to work hard! Keep up the GOOD WORK Graham, Isaac, and Marilee!!!

Tuesday evening we went to the local facility for the handicapped called the Mosaic and we played for their annual "dance". We played background music as the residents enjoyed eating refreshments and dancing and bouncing to the beat of our fiddle music. We got some of them to help us with the percussion instruments which they loved...

Joseph and Seth have been sweating gallons as they have worked outside everyday in the hot, hot sun. They work with a landscaping company and have enjoyed the manual labor. They are really looking forward to working in 100 degree weather this next week, right boys? (heehee)

Farmer's Market! We were asked to play a couple numbers with some of our friends that were playing at the Farmer's Market this week. In this picture, our friend Hannah and I had just finished a very fast and foot stomping version of Turkey in the Straw. Hannah is a fantastic accordion player and entertainer. She is also my accordion teacher. GO HANNAH!

Marilee, Isaac, and Graham have started their own little bluegrass band. Right now they only have two songs in their repertoire, Cripple Creek, and Blackberry Blossom, but don't worry they have several others under construction. They performed both of their songs for the first time at the Farmer's Market.


Uh oh, what's going on here?

Ok I'll tell you... We have officially purchased the former E-Z MUSIC BUILDING!!!
We firmly believe that "cleanliness is next to Godliness" and so the first thing we did after we actually owned it was to tear up some of the dirtiest carpet in the building and start scraping the carpet glue off of the cement floor. (We forgot the camera oops)
Four years ago when we moved here, we had brought all of our food storage with us. Unfortunately, we found that the only available space for it was in the garage. We have worried that the extreme weather of the cold and hot temperatures in the garage would be detrimental to our cans of whole wheat, powdered milk, beans etc. When we found that our building had a basement we were overjoyed to finally have a place to move the food away from the broiling heat of the summer as well as the chilling cold of the winter.

We feel that having food storage is important in being prepared. "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30) Many times in the Bible the Lord counseled that His people store for the future crisis.


First Presidency"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. "We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. "We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."

So Saturday, we borrowed a truck, used our mini van, and put everyone to work hauling literally a ton of food storage to the building (we haven't named it yet).

WHEAT!!! It looks edible and we did not see any weevils...
Inspection passed!

What are you doing playing with water Joseph?
We're supposed to be working.

Well ok maybe its not water...
As Joseph was transferring some of the five gallon buckets from the back of the garage he grabbed one of the "empty" ones from the top row. He was shocked and surprised to suddenly find out that one of them was not as empty as he thought, it was however too late. He had accidentally tipped over a bucket of some clear liquid that smells suspiciously like kerosene. It did turn out to be kerosene though no one knows how it got there. It was NOT a very pleasant experience for Joseph as you can probably imagine... Its a good thing you had your sunglasses on Joseph...

Who's going down there first?

It was not as bad down there as we thought at first especially after we got a couple brooms going. Keep sweepin' Marilee!

The stairs to the basement are pretty steep and it was very daunting to think about carrying every box and bucket down those stairs. Thank goodness for inventive and ingenious brothers!!! Seth put this contraption together so that we could just slide the boxes down. OH SWEET RELIEF!!! It worked so well that none of the boxes ever fell off... Great thinking Seth!

It must be the dust!

It was amazing how quickly the stack of boxes grew...

Come on Kimball you can do it!!!

Mission accomplished... In less than 3 hours we had completed a job that I thought was going to take all day. Goes to show that many hands and strong brothers make light work!

Not the whole building is uninhabitable and since Joseph and Kimball are going to live there they moved some furniture in one of the rooms. It looked quite cozy and acted like a magnet to exhausted workers... right Kimball?

After moving the food storage we decided to try out the practice space in the building...
This is Graham's outfit for the song "Bib Overalls"...
There's a pocket for everything right Graham?

It passed with flying colors! We finally have enough room to dance, jump rope, flag poi and do every other routine we can think of.
We are very grateful to the Lord for giving us the direction and guidance we needed as we sought to know His will in regards to this building. We hope to be able to use it to magnify Him and to help accomplish the work He has given us...

Saturday afternoon was spent in Franklin at the Golden Living Center. We performed our 50s' program for the residents. It was fun to see them sing along with the songs that they had heard as they were growing up.

Bamba Bamba... Yo no soy marinero... Soy Richardo Soy Richardo!!!
We also tried out some new songs that we have been learning and La Bamba was one of them.

As we have looked back over the last four years, we realize again and again how much the Lord has directed and guided us through this maze of life. Without His guidance we would not be here today doing what we are doing. We are so full of gratitude as we see how sweet and good our lives are. There is nothing we enjoy more than to work together in something that the Lord has confirmed to each of us is the right path. Nothing can possibly be as sweet as a family united in serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

"Loyal families are the heart of the society. No nation will ever be stronger than the strength of its homes. No agency or institution can do what the home should do."

Elder Marion D. Hanks