Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry, Merry Christmas!

The Garms Family - Christmas Eve 2011 | From Left to Right: Front row - Sam (11), Caleb (8), Dad (David), Mom (Kris); Back row - Jayme (10), Ben (20), Leesha (17), and Taylor (19) 
We pray you and your family had a delightful, most blessed Christmas; ours was relaxing and reflective, and we enjoyed our time at home.  May you continue to be blessed exceedingly throughout the rest of this year, and into 2012!


"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."
(Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)


Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
The Garms Family

Happy 10th Birthday Jayme!

"Jaym-Jaym", "Giggles", "Jollylegs", and most recently "Pipsqueak" (I called her that from stage during our last concert, and people afterwards kept coming up and calling her "Pipsqueak"!)...all these nicknames describe our little Christmas joy, Jayme.  We celebrated her 10th birthday on December 22nd, and now she goes around exclaiming, "I'm a decade old!"  :)  She had been counting down the days to her birthday for several months (yes, really!), and was so excited when the day finally arrived.  Jayme was doubly excited when Grandpa Pete and cousin Noah were able to spend the day as well.

Jayme - December 22nd, 2011
Jayme
Joyful (mostly!)
Amicable
Youthful
Musical
Excitable

Our little fiddler - December 20th, 2011
Jayme chose Psalm 62 as her psalm for the day:


For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

Happy Birthday Jaym-Jaym - we love you dearly!

Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for TGF


Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Concert Video Highlights

Hello Friends!

Here are a few video highlights from some of the Christmas concerts we did this December.  Be blessed, and may your hearts be filled with the Joy of Christmas!







Merry Christmas!
The Garms Family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Ring Christmas Bells" Video

A special thanks to everyone who came to our special Christmas concert at our home church, St. Stephen's Lutheran, on December 4th! We enjoyed dusting off our Christmas songs, debuting some new ones, and even rearranging some off of our latest CD (you should hear the LAs exciting new arrangement of "Go Tell It On the Mountain" with full instrument back-up now; my favorite part is the ending - it's awesome!). It was so neat to have friends and family in attendance (Grandpa Pete stayed the weekend and sister Uli came to the concert) - and we made new friends as well. It was a blast!

We were extremely blessed and flabbergasted by the generosity of our friends: St. Stephen's has been raising money for our family while we've been away at concerts on Sundays. Pastor Anderson presented Dad and Mom with their gift, along with the freewill offering. Wow. Thank you all SO much!

We've been having a wonderful time at our other Christmas concerts as well! Last night we had an enjoyable evening at Kost Evangelical Free Church in North Branch, MN with friends new and old - thank you Linda for having us come to your church! And, we were thrilled to return to Eagle Bend Assembly of God this last Sunday (the meal was absolutely delicious, y'all!). We've been so blessed.

Here's a highlight from our concert at our home church; enjoy!



Blessings and Joy in the Journey!
Taylor for the Garms Family

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chronicles of the Sightings: Counting Our Blessings


On Monday, November 21st, our family was traveling in the Glory Bus to celebrate our grandpa's birthday with him when disaster struck.  Leesha tells the story below and shares the numerous blessings which came from the day...


“The cheesy potatoes were baking as they recorded the commercial and mmmm, they smelled so good!” Jayme chattered excitedly to Mom.  Then she stopped, suddenly seeing Mom’s fixed stare at Taylor.  At that moment, Taylor smacked her forehead, “Oh! I should have just made the cheesy potatoes and brought them along to cook at Grandpa’s!” she groaned.  Both Jayme and I looked at each other confused; until it dawned on me what they were talking about.  “So that’s what you meant when you said we were bringing potatoes for Grandpa’s birthday!” I cried.
  
“Yeah,” said Mom, “they were to be baked at Grandpa’s so they would be warm for supper.”  Still Jayme did not grasp the situation, so Mom patiently explained to her why the cheesy potatoes should have been only made, not baked.  


I turned to Taylor and said, “Sorry Taylor, I didn’t realize you shouldn’t have baked them.”  “It’s okay, but I wish I had thought about it before I cooked them,” she sighed, “But we need to get busy; we have yet to make cranberry sauce and a cake, not to mention doing the dishes from supper.”  Wearily, we both got up from the couch in our family room and headed to the kitchen.


Jayme came prancing into our room on her stick horse the next morning, saying “Wake up girls! It’s Grandpa’s birthday!” and galloped out.  I groaned (while saying to myself “Next time Jayme, could you sing a song or something other than making your horse say, ‘I like it when you brush me!’”) and looked to see what time it was - more specifically how long it would take us to get out of the house.  Then I cracked a smile and called down to Taylor from my top bunk, “At least the cheesy potatoes are made!”  Taylor only groaned, rolled over, and threw her covers her head.  


Despite having a late start in leaving, we were finally all in the "Glory Bus" (or as Taylor has started to call it the "Adventure Bus") on our way to celebrate Grandpa’s 71st birthday.  “Isn't it nice to be going down just to visit Grandpa and not having to pack suitcases and set up at a church?” remarked Taylor from across the aisle from me.  Ben and I nodded as we bumped along down the road.

We were about at the half-way point in our trip when Dad suddenly exclaimed, “Oh no! We have a problem!  I've got to pull over, the engine is over-heating!” Unfortunately, we were in the middle of a busy highway during the lunch hour rush.  In the next suspenseful moments, Dad slowed down and took several exits to get off the highway.  To make matters worse, the roads we turned on were under construction!  Finally, finding a gas station, we turned in - only to find all available parking spaces filled.

Driving a little further, we found a nearly deserted parking lot; Dad pulled in.  As the engine shut off, we all thanked God we had made it this far without the bus exploding into flames or maybe worse.  Ben and Dad exited the bus to look around and see what was going on with our "whale on wheels", while Mom took stock of the position we were in.

Soon Dad and Ben came back in with what they thought was wrong.  Dad thought that a hose was leaking coolant, thus causing the engine to over-heat.  But a more careful inspection (I am so glad Dad is a mechanic) showed a belt almost completely demolished.  This belt controlled the alternator, the water pump, and the fan, all necessary for the running of the engine.  And this was beyond what Dad could do (he happened to leave his tools at home on this particular trip); we needed help.  With the aid of his GPS, Dad began calling different auto shops to see if anyone in the vicinity could help.

The shredded remains of the belt.
It was around 12:00 p.m. when we stopped in the parking lot, and after the preliminary settling down, Mom suggested we all should have some lunch (we were all starting to get hungry) since it was looking like we weren’t going to make it to Grandpa’s any time soon.  As I made my way to the back of the bus and saw the cheesy potatoes, I exclaimed, “Hey, maybe it was a good thing after all that Taylor made the cheesy potatoes!  God knew we would need them today before we got to Grandpa’s!”   Everyone agreed; the first blessing counted.    


“Well,” said Dad just getting off the phone with roadside assistance, “it’s going to be an hour and half wait until the mobile mechanic gets here.”  "I’m going to walk over to McDonald’s to keep warm,” said Mom, “And this will be a great time to get those spelling tests done, Sam and Jayme, as we’re not moving. Anyone else coming in with me?”  Taylor said she would also come, so Mom, Sam, Jayme, and Taylor set off across the parking lot.  Dad, Ben, Caleb and I waited in the ever-getting-colder bus.  Caleb, Ben, and I began reading books as the minutes ticked by.


Suddenly Dad said, “They're here!”  All of us in the bus looked outside excitedly as a repair van pulled up beside our poor bus.  We all hoped the repair man would fix it soon so we could either continue to go down and visit Grandpa or go home soon.  Sam and Jayme came over and Ben, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb began playing games as the repair man, Jim, began trying to fix our bus.  Soon he (and we) found out that the replacement belt was too short and would not fit.  Then began the long process of finding another belt, waiting for Jim our repair man or some else to get a belt, and trying to make it work.  


Jim, the mechanic, discovered the tensioner for the belt was broken, so after another belt was picked up, we waited for that part to be fixed.  But even after the tensioner was fixed, the belts we had didn’t work!  In the end, Jim and another repairman moved the alternator to make one of the belts work.  


Meanwhile, all of us kids (with Mom) hung out in McDonald’s.  Boy, I was never as thankful for McDonald’s as I was then.  First, we sat around and chatted, but then we had the bright idea to play a game. We played one game for over an hour and got quite loud, so loud that Mom asked us to burn off some energy outside.  :)  After walking around in the parking lot, we came back in not wanting to finish our game.  Being supper time, we had gotten awfully hungry sitting in a restaurant.  Knowing it would be rude to bring in our food to eat, Mom said we could eat off the dollar menu (our last concert we had been given money for a meal, and well, it came in handy!).  


As we were eating, Dad and Jim came in to get warm and wait for the last belts to arrive.  Jim shared stories about going out to eat when he was young; how a cheese burger cost sixteen cents and a regular burger was fourteen cents.  He told us of growing up in a family the same size as ours with eight kids.   It was interesting to hear what life was like back in those days, before the age of technology.  


Around nine o’clock the bus lights went on (we saw through McDonald’s windows), and we knew the bus was fixed!  We could go home!  We cleaned up our school books, games, jackets, etc., at McDonald’s (we took up a lot of room, three booths!) and prepared to head out to the bus.

As we left the parking lot, we began reviewing the past few hours, seeing how God’s hand had been at work through all the crazy-mixed up day:

  • First, we were not out in the middle of no-where, but still close enough to the Cities (as we Minnesotans call Minneapolis/St. Paul and their suburbs), so that we didn't wait hours and hours just for someone to arrive.  
  • It had been a nice day, not snowing or raining.  
  • Also, we were near a warm place with bathrooms.  
  • We had food along (already baked!) and it was cold enough they didn't spoil during our long wait.
  • Another blessing was we had brought along games (more than we usually do) to play with Grandpa on his birthday.   
  • We were blessed with good mechanics who worked hard to fix our bus.  
  • God was watching over us; the bus didn’t break down on our way to a concert.  And even though it was sad not being with Grandpa on his birthday, we were not really pressed for time.  
  • God had also provided for a meal at McDonald’s, and He brought us back home safely - all in one day! 
  • Also, because of the amazing generosity of a certain individual, we were overwhelmingly blessed to not have to pay labor charges (which were very large) - we only had to pay for the parts.

All the way home, I was praising God for the good things He had done for us.  Truly I could say with David: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”  What a time to be mindful of all the benefits of trusting in God!  And how fitting that it was Thanksgiving week, a time set apart to be grateful for the abundance of our blessings so graciously given to us from a loving God.

Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!   


- Leesha for the Garms Family    

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy 17th Birthday Leesha!

Our "happy" sister, Leesha ("Leesha" means "happy" and she generally lives up to her name very well!), turned 17 years old this Saturday, December 3rd, 2011.

17?!

Wow, get me a chair!  We're getting old!

Leesha - December 3rd, 2011

LEESHA
Like-able
Easy-going
Encouraging
Silly (yet sensible)
Happy
Animated


Leesha chose several passages from the Bible too lengthy to include here, but let me share with you one of her favorite psalms:

PSALM 150
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

Happy Birthday, Leesha!  We love you very much!

Blessings and Joy in the Journey with JESUS!

-Taylor for the Garms Family