Wednesday, September 22, 2010


(sorry I got a little carried away ! =)
We are the American Central Division... CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. Favorite Player

I am so proud of my team. We have won 6 out of the last 9 championships! I mentioned in the preivous post that I am a very oppininated person, and passionate on certain subjects...Well the Twins happen to be one of them! :) No one will ever be able to convince me that there is a better team than the Minnesota Twins. Nope, I am stubbornly convinced that they are the best team ever, and the best team to be a fan of. This team is amazing. They have played great even when some of their best players have been injured. Danney Valencia, (Valence in my launguae,) Is a wonderful example of that. This Rookie has stepped up to the plate and amazed Twins fans, encluding me, every where. In my humble opinion he should be Rookie of the year.

2. Favorite Player
3. Favorite Player: Justin Morneu 9 (I couldn't get a picture of him on Tuesday becuse He's injured.)
Looking forward to the Post Season,
AnaLise Alzen

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thoughts on Nikolai and Dima

Today while I was practicing my Russian, I almost started to cry because I realized how much I missed Nickolai. I miss his constant talking in Russian. I miss his dramatic exclamations, his adorable smile, his Curious George type excitement, his nick names for me, his cuddly affection, his hugs, his sleepy look when he first wakes up, his giggly laugh, his never ending energy, his "Ochens" ( which means very in English), his love for airplanes and boats, (he had to point out every single boat or plane, lake or river :), his more than willingness to eat every single banana in the house leaving none left for me, which for me is a good thing =), his love and playfulness for Shelby, his eagerness to help with chores, and so much more. To some of you he might have been an extremely shy little boy, to others he might of been an extremely active boy, to me he is a sweet, affectionate and yes, active brother.

Today, while I was doing my morning devotions, I came across these verses that practically jumped off the page at me:

Matthew 11:28-30

(28) "Come to me, all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

(29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Now I am not a born worrier like some people, but I do have a few things that I find myself worrying about, Nikolai and Dima are one of them. I worry if they have enough food to eat, if they are getting bullied by the big kids, if they are picking up bad habits from the other children, if they're is feeling alone etc. Occasionally I wonder about the process itself: How long will it take to adopt Nikolai and Dima? What If we don't get enough money? What if Nikolai and Dima don't get along? What if the whole adoption thing fall through the cracks? When I read these verses I realized that I needed to put this 'Nikolai Dima burden' totally in God's hands. I know that I pray to Him all the time about, it but am I really trusting Him? Verse 28 reminded me of the song that goes '"Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus lay your burdens at His feet.' A song that a number of our family band friends sing. I used to kind of think of a burden as the burden of sin that you lay at the cross like in Pilgrim's Progress when you first become saved. I am learning, though, to lay our every day burdens at the feet of Jesus. Not just to lay them there and pray about them but to truly entrust them to my Prince, knowing that He will take care of them however he deems best. Even if we aren't able to adopt them I have to realize that God has a purpose for everything we went through, and even if I, in my fleshly ignorance, don't understand why, He does. He knows why we go through the things we go through, He knows that it's for our own good.

Nikolai is teaching me so much about two main things one is patience and the other is love. I am learning that love is not just a feeling it is a commitment. It is easy to love him when he is his cute and cuddly, but it's harder to love him when he wakes me up in the middle of the night, or when he's constantly tickling me, or throwing a tantrum in front of other people. Loving him is a journey. A journey of ups and downs. I am learning to love him not only in the good times, but also the bad. Don't get me wrong; most of the time he is so easy to love for he drinks in affection like he does grape juice , :) and is really a good boy, but I have to keep in mind that he probably has never known true love before. It is a hard concept for me to understand because I have known love ever sense I was born. I have known the greatest love in the world that I yearn for Nikolai to accept, understand, and feel.

'For there is know greater love than he that is willing to lay down his life for another.'

The love that my heavenly Father demonstrated is the example of true, perfect, never ending love. I never cease to be amazed that my Prince loved me, a wretched and undeserving sinner, so much that he would give his life for ME!!! That kind of love is incomprehensible. Here is one of my favorite chapters that explains what love really is, and how I should love my family, Nikolai, and every one for that matter.

1 Corinthians 13

'And now I will show you the most excellent way.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.'

I think that is the most beautiful and meaningful poetry, if you would consider it poetry, I have ever heard. I like to write poetry but I general don't like to read poetry out of a book. I know I will never tire of reading that passage along with the Psalms and Proverbs. I also know that I will never be able to write something as true and beautiful as that. :)

So I will conclude my post about Nikolai by asking for your prayers for our adoption journey. (I am very passionate on certain subjects and am a very oppininated and talkative person, so I'm afraid that I got a little sidetracked! =)I believe that prayer is a very powerful thing, for God hears all the prayers of His children.
In the Bible God commands us to,
'Pray with out ceasing'
Here are a few specific points that I would appreciate your prayers for:
- For the finacal needs to be covered
- Nikolai and Dima to feel God's presence
- That both Nikolai and Dima would be able to come with the hosting program
- That we would be able to adopt them as soon as possible
- That it would work out to talk with Nikolai on Skype
- To be able to communicate clearly with the adoption agency and the orphanages involved
- That God would show Mom and Dad wisdom in how to parent these little boys
- That the details and confusion in the whole thing would be smoothed out
- That we would be following God's direction and not our own
- That God's will would be done
- That He would be glorified through out this process
We can't thank you enough for the part you are taking in our adoption by praying. We are so thankful that God adopted us into His family, giving us the ultimate example of adopting Nikolai and Dima into ours. God has a heart for orphans and the fatherless that He has passed on to us, that we might be able to fulfil His plans. This adoption not about us, Nikolai, or Dima, it is about God.
May the Lord richly bless you with His everlasting love, and may you continually seek Him in the journey He has for you.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Iowa Travels

This is at the Floyd Gospel Sing that we played at in Floyd Iowa. It was a neat festival to play at that mostly had Southern Gospel music, with a few bluegrass and other type bands mixed in. We played on Friday and Saturday, except that on Friday night, when we arrived, it was raining hard enough that we had to play inside the church. We didn't mind that though because it gave it more of a cozy feeling, plus the were a very welcoming and attentive audience. I really appreciated how they freely talked of Jesus Christ, even the MC. That is getting less and less common even in Gospel festivals.
Well, you're probably wondering why I have a picture of a policeman and a guy that looks like a pastor; instead of a picture of a Southern Gospel band. If you look closely at the policeman you might recognize him; maybe his uniform or his stance? That is a Barney Fife impersonator! Ever seen the Andy Griffith Show from the 50s? Barney Fife was Andy Griffith's deputy from Mayberry. If you have seen the show than this is the guy that probably jumped out at you the most. He is hilarious! This impersonator from, I want to say Branson Missouri, does a great job! His actions, voice, and appearance are all just like Barney, that you have to look twice every time he speaks.

He also was a fabulous harmonica player, unlike the real Barney Fife. :) He played the Orange Blossom Special and was just ripping it up. He was playing so fast that it sounded like he was playing all sorts of notes at once! There were a few harmonicas handy so that he could do different octaves on the same song. When he finished, he was so amazing that he got a standing ovation from some of the crowd.

And no that other guy isn't a pastor, he was our friendly MC and did a nice job.

The festival was a really large festival; so big that I wasn't able to get all the people on our camera. I think someone said that it had a few thousand people as a guesstimate. It was bigger than Itasca, I know. Being that it was so big, we were blessed with very good amounts of Cd sales, and Tessa and I sold a really good amount of jewelry.

A different angle of the festival.

During sets we went to a nearby park to eat dinner and to recreate. They had beautiful scenery there, and plenty of ducks and geese. They also had a bridge that was under construction that we decided would be nice to take a walk on, so we climbed over the construction stuff and took a walk on the bridge. Later we found out from our hosts for the night that it was in the newspaper the night before that no one was supposed to walk on that bridge! Oops! I guess they were replacing a former bridge that had collapsed and they weren't finished with this one. At least no one saw us. :)

Lucas feeding the hungry ducks.

These geese were a little too friendly for me. :) They would follow me around even if I didn't have food!
Family Camp

Now I am going to switch gears and bring you to home school family camp near Lansing Iowa. We arrived on Sunday when camp started, and left on Wednesday, although the camp goes till Thursday. This family camp was hosted by some friends of ours, the Bontrager Family and the Wissmann family who we know as well. This was our second year, this time with Lucas and Dad. Last time it was just us girls, and Isaac couldn't come both times because of conflicting collage classes. As last year, it was a sweet time of fellowship with like minded families. We received good counseling from the Bontragers and Wissmanns that really encouraged us, and were able to spend quality time with our family and friends. We totally recommend this camp for conservative Christan homeschoolers like these families.

This is a weird photo of Mr. Wissmann who does most of the family sessions. He used to be a preacher so he does a great job getting the message across.

This is the Bontrager family who we first met at Itasca four years ago, and have gotten to know their family well over the past three years. They have a family of 12 and have a wonderful family band.

This is a really fun game that we play at family camp called the Super Mighty Noodle Scoop Challenge. It's kind of like Capture the Flag, except it has lots of different objects and slightly different rules. We had so much fun with this game that I think we are going to try to do it at our other family camps this year.

These these pictures of the Scoop Challenge were taken by this little friend of mine whose name is Margret.

They lined the girls and boys up differently so they could more even teams. Then the kept track of who was on what team by putting face paint of the color of your team on your face. For example I was counted off as blue so I was on the blue team and had blue strips painted on my face so that the opposing team would know weather or not they could tag me.

At camp they have different morning sessions for Mother-Daughter and Father-Son. At the sessions they do different activities. This is one of the activities that the guys did but we got to watch. They made their own potato guns, and then shot them off in a valley. Being a girl, I couldn't help but think what a waist of food it was :) It was very creative and noisy! =)

First you chose a good size potato,

shove it down the gun,

check to make sure everything is ready,

and watch it fly!!

Mr. Herrlinger shooting with his potato gun.
Our good friends the Herrlingers were able to make it to family camp this year except only half their family were actually able to come out of the lodging place because of chicken pox!

Lucas and Dad having a blast with their contraptions.

Some more of our friends, the Nobles (part of the family) who came from Missouri.

All of us girls watching and covering our ears.

A fun thing that they did for the girls was to get their hair done. Mine was done by Jessica (sister of Margret) who does hair for weddings.

Mom also was brave enough to have her hair done.

This is actually after all the sports of the day including volleyball, catch and throw, floor hockey, ultimate Frisbee, basket ball, tug of war and Mighty Noodle Challenge so my hair does not look the way it did when it was first finished. Mom wanted to get some shots anyway.

Lucas using his muscles in tug of war. (Mine are still sore :)

Here they're practicing for the big night games of speed volleyball that go on after the evening session and snack.
Volley ball photos are also curtesy of miss Margret. :)
This concludes my long post of the different things we did in Iowa. I hope y'all had a great week too!
- AnaLise

Friday, September 10, 2010

MN State Fair 2010

Hi!!! Well here we are on our last day at the Minnesota State Fair (last Sunday). Wow did that go fast! Once again we had the privilege of playing in the Heritage Square, this time it was on Monday and Tuesday. We thought that because we were playing on week days instead of the weekend this year that we probably wouldn't as good of crowds. Wrong. We had even better crowds than last year; it was full almost every concert on Monday but not as much on Tuesday! Weather wise it was totally opposite than the year before. Before it was bitterly cold especially in the mornings, this time it was extremely hot! Off stage we went around wearing ice wrapped in a towel around our necks!
Another interesting plus was that we were asked to play for Garage Logic show on 1500 ESPN that Joe Sucherey or whatever his name is hosts. It was a pretty um well memorable experience. The only problem was that they weren't able to use our mic because they were missing something needed. So we used there two mics which obviously weren't meant for a band. It would of worked OK except that we were so squished that when one of us took a break there wasn't enough room to get over to the mic so you couldn't hear very good. Oh well it was still a fun experience to meet Joe and to play a couple songs on his show.
Of course we had so much fun that we had to go back, so we went the first Saturday that it started and also the last Sunday of the fair, which this post is about. Because we weren't performing, I actually remembered now and then to take a couple of pictures. Wow, sorry I didn't mean to write you a speech I just had so much to say; I guess that's what happens when I don't blog often enough!

Yeah, I know, this is a really bad picture of the screen but I thought the sky looked cool.

Tessa and I impatiently waiting for the talent contest to start at the grandstand. We got there 45 minuets early so we could get good seats.

Dad and Mom talking with a few of the friends we unexpectedly saw at the fair.

Okay, so this talent show is for all the winners of all the county fairs across MN who came to the fair. All the winners did another smaller contest earlier in the week those who won did another bigger one and then all of the winners advanced to this final contest at the grandstand. It's always a really fun event to see, because there is a lot of different talents. In this contest there are three different categories, the pre-teen division, teen division, and open division. (anyone)
Here are some of the variety that we saw there: Singing, Guitarists, rock bands, (definitely not my favorite,) jazz bands, tap dancers, dancers, pianists, harmonica players, jugglers and a beep boxer. And not an ordinary beep boxer either. Because we don't listen to that type of thing, I had never heard one before but had heard of them from my cousins. This guy was amazing! He made a billion different sounds with his mouth and it sounded like a whole band! I have no idea how he does that; he makes so many weird and cool sounding noises at once. The audience loved it, and he, (a boy around 16 or 17) got a standing ovation and one first place in the open division. Second place was a fabulous guitarist, and third was a seventeen year old boy who tap danced.
The picture above is of last years winner, Sedra Bistideau who played while the judges were making their decisions. She is probably the most talented fiddle/violin player I have ever seen, especially at the age of 15 or 16, I can't remember which. Her family used to have a bluegrass band so we've seen her at a lot of festivals and fiddle contests.

The beautiful fireworks display after the show.

This is in a creative arts building and it certainly is creative. All of the pictures were made with seeds!

A very detailed seed picture.

My favorite :)

An ethnic band that we heard.
Well that concludes my post for the fair. The talent show didn't end until 11:00 PM which means it was three hours long, so we got home really late. That means I was very tiered and in the morning you could tell :) I accidentally poured apple cider into my cereal instead of milk, shredded my finger instead of the apple, and almost sprinkled chili powder into the french toast marinade instead of cinnamon!
Well I should probably go now; were heading out to Iowa to do concerts and go to a family camp for a week so stay tuned for more posts in a week or two.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

-Three Generations of Mother Daughter-
Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God
who keeps covanent and mercy for a thousand gerenrations with
those who love Him and keep His commandments.
- Deuteronomy 7:9