Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Down to the Finish Line!

In just a few days I'll be marrying my best friend ~ The man I've waited for all my life!

~ February 2010 ~

I am amazed at what the Lord has done... how He brought us together in His perfect time and directed our steps as we built our relationship around Him. Our relationship can only be explained by the Lord's working in both of our lives, for if it were not for His leading and guiding both us and our parents, neither of us would be where we are today. We serve a great God, do we not?!

My relationship with Ryan has taught me much about the Lord. Learning to trust Him (the Lord) when I didn't understand knowing that He was in control of all things, seeking His will in a way that I've never done before, and diving into Scripture to see what He says about things are some that come to mind. I am so thankful for the past year and a half of our relationship... the Lord knew I needed to learn more about Him and be challenged in good edifying ways. What a wonderful time it has been!

~ April 2010 ~

With the Lord's hand so obviously at work, I can't help but be excited about the future! In three days Ryan and I embark on a new adventure, only this time it will be together and not separated by hundreds and hundreds of miles! I can't really imagine what that will be like... but I know it will be wonderful!
With that in mind, this will be my last post. My focus will be changing and I will be taking on new responsibilities, which I've looked forward to assuming for a long time! I am excited about the next few days as well as the future! With our Lord guiding the way, we have much to look forward to!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Little Bit of This and Little Bit of That...

*Warning: This Post Contains LOTS of Photos!*

I have to admit that, at times, the weeks since my last post seem dim and vague... a bit like those cows, pictured above, as I stood at the bottom of the hill looking up at them before using the digital zoom to capture the photo. So much has taken place... So many thoughts have run, raced, and pelted through my mind (and still do!!:o), so many new and exciting things have taken place, and all the while normal everyday life takes place!!! It makes for quite the interesting time as we try to accomplish everything, but I wouldn't trade it! Oh yes! I do remember the past weeks, but they seem so long ago... almost like a dream.

So here I go... a conglomeration of the highlights and everyday life at the Castlebury's!

"I See You, Sawah!!"
Several weeks ago we were able to go visit the Pelc's, and goodness, what a time we had! We always have a wonderful time together, but I do believe this one is better than the rest! Dad and Sayre helped Ryan and his Dad out at the house where they were able to get the roof on, a good amount of dry hung, and several other 'more than one person jobs' done. Sarah did several posts on our time together (#1, #2, #3) which document it really well.
Sawyer seemed to be Sarah's constant companion during the trip, and the above photo gives one a taste of how much he enjoys playing with her!

Ryan and I...
It was so good to be talking with Ryan in person again!! All other mediums are great, but they can't beat face to face in person time. We were able to get quite a bit of wedding and house related things nailed down and talked through during the time together, which was exciting for both of us!

Talkin' and Enjoyin' Each Other's Company...
I find it humorous that this is the only photo that contains more than 3 people I have from the entire trip!! Us ladies had such a great time together! From visiting antique stores, talking, or whatever we were doing at the moment, we had a wonderful and encouraging time together! The times our families are together is always refreshing, challenging, and encouraging. What a blessing the Pelc's have been to us!

Measure Twice, Cut Once!
Upon returning home from Missouri, Momma and I began to contemplate starting in on my wedding dress. The mock up had been completed right before we left, so all we had to do was to set aside everything (that would be gardening) and begin the dress. Two Monday mornings ago my Momma pulled out the cutting board and began laying out the fabric, while I was out running errands. Once I returned home, we started in on the cutting... and cutting... and cutting... and cutting. After three hours of cutting, measuring, snipping, and pinning, we closed up shop and called it a day.

Pressing in the Seams...
We spent the afternoons of the next week and a half in the sewing room together. What wonderful times those were! I was able to learn new things or have sewing 'techniques' reinforced with each seam that we put in or pressed flat. My Mother is a sewing genius and I have so much to learn from her, which make these times where we're working together so terrific!

Sewing the Horsehair to the Hem...
This past Wednesday we finished all the machine work on the dress; and yesterday, we officially finished all the hand sewing and pressed the dress!!! Now, all that's left is to put on the covered buttons, which we need to purchase, and the dress will be officially done!! I can't tell you how exciting it is to see (and have!) the dress (almost) completed!! Wow!!! Words fail me... It's a great feeling!

Momma and I
I have so enjoyed working on my dress with Momma. The time we spent together was special and full of memories... I was able to learn from her as we worked... We were able to talk about all sorts of things and build our relationship even stronger. I treasure these times with her...

Next on our to do together list - go strawberry picking for jam and freezing... that will take place next week! I sure hope the strawberry farm still has berries to pick! :o)

Web-Footed Creatures
One highlight of this spring has been the addition of new animals to our place. Sayre wanted to raise some ducks, so in mid March we had Five Rouen, Five Mallards, and Five Pekin ducklings who looked so soft, downy and just plain 'ol cute, arrive. Now, they're practically full grown and make enough noise to drown out the chickens when we're present there.

Duck Herding
These guys are a hoot to watch as they go everywhere en masse together, quacking the whole time. Sayre had them out the other day, and it was hilarious watching him attempt to herd them over to the shop!! One would get pointed back in the direction of the pen, and all the rest would follow! Sayre set up a kiddy pool full of water for the ducks to swim in, and it's a real treat to watch them floating in it.
But now that they are so big, we need to get them out of the chicken pen because...

We have chicks!!!!!
One of our broody hens hatched six chicklets while we were visiting the Pelc's!!

Collecting the Eggs...
I have just recently let Mother Fluff-Ruffle and her brood out of their pen and the chicks seem to enjoy roaming about the coop scratching for all sorts of things.
I so enjoy watching the chickens. It's so peaceful to sit in the grass or under a tree, watch them gather around you, and slowly go off in search of bugs or other tasty treats. They have really become more and more free range this spring. That's been so neat to see!

New Beginnings...
Sayre brought home three African Pygmy goats last Saturday... The 'girls' are Roxanne and Roseanne while the billy is named 'Buster Houdini'. Roxanne (pictured on the left) likes to stand at the gate and bleat at us, during the late afternoons. If you bleat back, she'll answer and you can carry on quite the conversation!

Cattle Wranglin'
Seeing how I've featured all the critters, but the dogs so far, I suppose I ought to include a bit about the cows. Well... there are now sixteen cows and calves out at Bull Run! All the cows have calved and I think the final tally is five heifers and three bull calves.
In the above photo Dad, Tristan, and Sayre were putting each cow or calf into a head gate so they could tag them or take tags out, deal with the bull calves, and look each animal over closer.

Patiently Waiting...
So this is just a taste of what has gone on around here. As we look ahead to the weeks before the wedding, we anticipate wonderful times! It's going to be busy, but it will be wonderful at the same time! Home... Family and Friends... Animals... Gardening... Wedding... The recipe for the next nine weeks!

Thank You to all those who left comments on the last post. Ryan and I really enjoyed and appreciated your congratulations and excitement for us! Thank You so much for your comments!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Ryan and Ashley...

Allot has transpired for us over this past year ~ first this, then this, and now...

This! :o)

On Wednesday a new step was taken in our relationship... one that we had looked towards and hoped for since our courtship began.

These past fourteen months have been wonderful ones, with the Lords' hand being evident every step of the way. From the bringing of two families together even though there were hundreds of miles between them, to the friendship that so quickly sprang up between us ("us" being Ryan and Ashley), to the amazing like-mindedness that we have not only in our likes and dislikes, but most importantly in our strong desire to align ourselves with what the Lord has laid out in His Word. Every step of the way, we have found each other to be walking the same course in the living out of our faith; which has time and again shown us that we were following the path that the Lord has laid before us.

Now we are excited to announce that, as of this past Wednesday, we are an engaged couple!!! We have made this commitment one to another after seeing the Lords' hand throughout our relationship, and commit to marry knowing that we are in the center of His will.

These days, we are delighting in spending our days discussing and planning for a summer wedding. As we walk this course together, we are highly anticipating the coming days and years that we'll have together!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's been quite some time since I last posted, has it not? It has been a busy season since the post and I needed to take some time off to focus on the tasks and to think. Combining fall cleaning, working on large projects (such as quilts), two holidays, visitors, and the normal everyday life of the Castleburys' (which has somehow become more busy of late... I'm not sure how, but has managed to do it again!) makes for a very interesting time. A time where one has to focus on the important thing - that being ones family and what you can do to help them.

It's been a wonderful time though... I thought I would give you a quick glimpse into the highlights of the past six and a half weeks!!

Feedin' Rex and Meetin' the Cows...
Towards the end of October Mrs. Franco and the kids were able to come visit for a day or so!! We had such a wonderful time with them... I think the highlight, for the kids at least, was going out to Bull Run and feeding the cows as most ALL of the cows are taller than they are!! Or maybe it was building a fort in the woods with Sayre... hmmm, maybe that was it! Bethany posted some pictures from their visit HERE.

Victoria, Haviland, Sawyer, and I - with Bethany in the background and Buck wanting in on it all!
It was a terrific time spent went them; a time of renewing friendships (we don't get to see them very often), a time of good discussions, and a time of working together!! We hope to see them again soon!

As soon as the fall cleaning was finished, Momma and I started working on our quilts. I had bought my quilt top at a yard sale well over a year ago now, and I was oh so anxious to see it completed. It took almost two weeks, as we had guests and other things that needed doing, but it's now finished and draped over the bench inside the back door!!! Oh I love it and am so pleased with how it turned out!

Being goofy...
Sawyer has been our entertainment of late!!! In the above picture he had just gotten knocked into the sink and we were all laughing at him!!! His comment upon being 'rescued' was "Oh, now my pants are wet!" which sent us into even further peals of laughter!! I love his smile... his eyes glow or 'dance' when that smile of his comes out!! Its the sweetest thing ever! Yes, he wears a hat most of the time - it just adds to his cuteness! :o)

Still in the works
Trevor has been working on the chicken coop, every chance he finds, with Sayre's help. The above picture is where the construction is on it right now. They have one full side plus a partial side of the coop to put the siding on, and then they'll move indoors putting in widows and doors, building nest boxes and roosts, and then I'll move the chickens in!!! I can't wait till that day!

The Chicky-y-doos
Speaking of the chickens, we are now getting anywhere from 11 to 13 eggs a day!! Thankfully we have a source that WANTS as many eggs as we can spare, otherwise we'd have a bit of a problem on our hands! :o)
These birds are an absolute blast!!! The ones that fly the fence have become rather bold and are up near the house scratching in the dirt... I have to count the birds each evening just to make sure that everyone is back in. I have to wonder if I don't have chickens laying outside of the pen.

A FIRST for us!
The best and most exciting part of the past few weeks has been the addition of a new calf to my herd of cows!!! She arrived last Sunday evening and is the cutest little thing ever!! She's highly curious and rather energetic for a new calf, I think. I have two more heifers that are due any day which is giving us allot of suspense and anticipation here!! It's going to be so neat to see all three of the calves running around out at Bull Run!

My Family~Winter 2009
In Front left to right: Sawyer, Momma, Me, and Thelma - Trevor's wife
In Back: Sayre, Daddy, Tristan, Trevor, and Collin.

Over these past weeks I've been doing some serious thinking in regards to my blog, and I've come to the conclusion that it is time for me to close this season of my life. There are so many things that I want to learn about or research, projects that I need to do, and new things that I want to delve into; as I've stepped back and looked at this area, the question that has kept coming to my mind is "What would the Lord have me to do during this time of life?". I'm here to serve the Lord by serving my family... this is a time of learning from my Mother... this is the time to learn things that I might not have the time to learn about years down the road... and I could go on.

I do not make this decision lightly; I've prayed about it, talked about it, and thought about it for quite a few weeks. But this is the right thing for me to do. I'll be leaving the blog up, but not posting (well, maybe I'll pop in every so often with a new post, but I'm not going to commit to anything).
I have so very much enjoyed blogging - from getting to know some of my readers through comments they leave all the way down to the encouragement y'all have been to me! It's been a wonderful time!! Than you for making it so!

To all my readers I wish you a Happy New Year! :o)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rain... Rain... Rain...

It's been a rainy yet delightful past day and a half! We've most certainly enjoyed our time spent indoors doing and focusing on things that are not 'everyday'. We had a good reason to be indoors... a little rain isn't enough to keep us from being outside, but when it's a downpour most of the day, then we do our utmost to stay dry. In the past thirty hours we've received just shy of five inches of rain!!! It's made feeding critters rather interesting... and wet!

View from my room...
As of yesterday around 4:00, which is when the rained slacked off enough for me to hasten out a give the critters an early feeding, we had received right at the inch and a half mark- per our rain gauge. When I woke up this morning I was surprised to see that the pond had tripled in size!!

Close up
It rained hard and steady all night long not slacking off until around 10:00 this morning. In addition to the water that the pond receives, it also holds the water draining from the front yard. I'm surprised, yet not really, that there was this much of a change from yesterday afternoon!! It's really neat! I'm already thinking a canoe ride is in order as soon as I find the canoe!! :o)

A wet and excited dog!! :o)
I headed out for a walk around 11:00 to clear my mind and to see the sights. Jasper had been outside for sometime already, but he was so happy to have me out there with him! It was seriously swampy out there... you don't quite leave footprints as you walk but it's 'pert near close'!!! There's been a nice wind most of the day which should help towards drying things out. I love seeing the ripples that it makes on the pond...

Stayin' busy...
So what have we been doing during the rain? Well, Mommas been working on making the house more into a home. Right now she's working on cleaning out her china which includes washing it and, to an extent, re-arranging the furniture that holds it. She and Sawyer took a break to make cookies this morning. Have I mentioned that Sawyer l.o.v.e.s to bake?

Hibernatin' in the sewing room...
I've spent every free moment of the past few days working in the sewing room. Some denim has been my focus and I ventured into uncharted territory by doing two rows of top stitching along each seam. My seam ripper and I are getting to be good friends these days... I feel as if I've done more 'picking'/ripping out than I've done sewing!!! :o) It's all for a good cause and I'm really enjoying the end result!

It all started out...
This was taken last Friday as I began cutting out the fabric. It was chilly in the house and the back porch offered me the perfect spot to get warmed up, naturally!!! It most certainly did the trick!
Despite the fun stuff we've been doing, I'm already looking forward to the sun coming out once again! It will be such a cheerful event!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

Nearer, Still Nearer

Words & Music by: Lelia N. Morris, 1862-1929

Nearer, still nearer- close to Thy heart,
Draw my, my Savior, so precious Thou art;
Fold me, O fold me close to Thy breast,
Shelter me safe in that "Haven of Rest,"
Shelter me safe in that "Have of Rest."

Nearer, still nearer- nothing I bring,
Naught as an off'ring to Jesus my King-
Only my sinful, no contrite heart;
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart,
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.

Nearer, still nearer- Lord, to be Thine,
Sin with its follies I gladly resign-
All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride;
Give m but Jesus, my Lord crucified,
Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.

Nearer, still nearer- while life shall last,
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages, ever to be
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee,
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Year Older...

Yesterday we celebrated Sawyer's fourth birthday... where did the past four years go?? It wasn't too long ago that he was a sweet and cuddly little baby, and now here he is...

Patiently Posing for Momma
... a sweet four year old that has such a tender heart.

OHhhhhhhhhhhhhh Boy!
I must say that his birthday celebration was unlike anything that I've ever seen, thanks to Sawyer! Birthdays around here are a family affair and although we all have fun, they are rather low keyed. This was NOT the case last night...

Trevor and Thelma-still newlyweds! :o)
Sawyer had spent most of the day wishing everyone a "Happy Birthday" when they wished him one!!! He talked about his birthday cake, became tickled pink when we sang the "Happy Birthday" song to him, and was just in general EXCITED over it all!
After dinner and conversation, it was present time... the most anticipated time for him!

"A Dump Truck!!!"
The look in the above two photos of Ham-man opening his gifts literally say it all. As he tore paper off of the gifts he would say "Oooohhh, it's a ______!! Thank you soooooooooooooo much!!!! Ohhhhhh boy!!! Thank you_________!!!"

As I sat there watching it all take place, I couldn't help but stand amazed with his thankful heart. Yes, he was excited over it all, but he would take the time to look the giver in the eye and to say "Thank you!". His excitement was contagious to all around the table and we all were wearing big grins and laughing out hearts out by the time he opened the last gift! It was truly a very special time for all involved.

Sawyer is turning into a fine little man. His thankfulness isn't limited to birthday presents; it carries over into everyday life- when I take clean clothes to his room he says "Oh Ashley, thank you for my clean clothes". When Momma comes home from the store we hear "Thank you for the wonderful food, Momma!". Or simply when something ordinary happens it's not unusual to hear "Ohhhh, thank you!!!" come from his mouth!

He's become a real help as well. He cheerfully brings me some laundry when I'm unable to get it, enjoys helping in the kitchen and will volunteer his services in there, he can unload the silverware from the dishwasher, and will be a big help if we will only allow him to.

Yes, Sawyer is a huge part of our family. We all love him dearly and count ourselves blessed to count him among us!