Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Memorial Day....

I always look forward to Memorial Day! It means Daddy is home which also means that life slows down for the day! Everyone usually works on a project that can be accomplished by the time grilling out or churning the ice cream rolls around! It's a very relaxing day!
This Memorial Day was no different. I spent most of the morning making soap and then worked on getting the front porch ready for company.

The porch furniture desperately needed to have last years' dirt cleaned off so Trevor helped me move the sofa and table into the front yard for cleaning. I cleaned it all down with Murphy's Oil Soap and it smelled and looked so good when I was done!

The plants that Momma had received for her birthday are perfect for the front porch! The begonias LOVE the shade and the New Guinea Impatien DOES NOT like the back porch, so I took some time getting my fingers in the dirt and re-potting them! I love to plant things!

Daddy had been busy hanging the porch swing while I was working on the furniture which was really exciting! The swing has been sitting on the porch since we moved in and we're all happy to have it hung!!
When the furniture was dry I was then able to rearrange the furniture to accommodate the new porch swing! I have to say that I'm very pleased with the result!

This is the view from the porch! I love to just sit and look out on this! You may notice dead leaves on the fruit tree; those are from the late freeze that we had a year ago. They still haven't fallen off, amazingly.
The porch is a wonderful place to sit on summer afternoons. It doesn't get any sun until around five o'clock and a breeze always seems to find it's way to it. Now that the swing is hung I know where many of us will be!

We had some friends over for an early supper which consisted of hamburgers done on the grill, coleslaw, gazpacho-a cold soup-, chips, and of course homemade ice cream!! It was delicious!

No picnic is complete without having at least one dog in the midst of everything!

Sawyer filled his plate up with chips and staked out a place on the bench to eat! I think Trevor may have managed to get some food, other than chips, into him!

Sayre helped Sawyer use a bow and arrow and Sawyer got so tickled watching the arrow fly!

I have a little friend in my garden! The poor thing has almost been stepped on twice now! I've been finding him under my butterfly bush or in the general vicinity of it. I do have a home made toad house but I don't know if he's using it or not.
I get so excited when I see that "good" animals or amphibians are making my garden their home! That tells me that I'm doing something right in it!

As I close I must state the correct weight of the calf. Tristan was horrified to find that I had put down "over two hundred pounds" (which is correct) for her weight. She actually weighs around five hundred pounds (and she's going to weigh more if she keeps eating the dog food).
I hope y'all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Catching Up with the Month of May

As usual, the month of May once again flew by as if it were anxious to be done and over with! May is always like this. First it was school sports, then it was county soccer games, then it was...... you get the idea! Everything happens in May; birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, garden planting, etc.
But amidst the busyness we still had things to celebrate and special gatherings to attend!

Mommas birthday was on the sixteenth which was also the day of a wedding we were to attend, so we celebrated it on the seventeenth instead.
Daddy got Momma two beautiful Begonias and planters for the front porch and as you can see, she loves them!

"You Didn't!"
As Momma and I walked through the Donald's antique mall a week before her birthday, she pointed out a beautiful water color painting that she really liked. Of course I had to report what she mentioned to Daddy and he sent me BACK to the mall to buy the painting!
She is so thoroughly delighted with it and already has it hung where she can see it many times each day!

For her "party" I had made her favorite white cake recipe with cream cheese frosting earlier in the day, and we had a delightful time sitting up late eating Birthday cake and drinking coffee! Thankfully nobody had to get up early the next day!

Our next celebration was Daddy and Mommas twenty-sixth wedding anniversary which was on the twenty-second/ last Thursday. Daddy took Friday off and he and Momma went "antiquing" all day!
They came home with all kinds of good stuff!

Last Friday the Greene's held a get together at their place! We had "good eatin's and good fellowship!"

Sawyer was especially interested in Seth's dog "Charlie" and followed him around!
Just as a side note, look at the boys all lined up behind Sawyer! For some reason they remind me of old men relaxing after doing some fishing!! Left to Right is Luke, Samuel, Sayre, Ezra, Collin, and Seth.

Oh yes, Sawyer likes to help make brownies!
Now let's move onto the real exciting news!

Tristan bought himself a cow three weeks ago! She's nine months old and weighs over two hundred pounds! I call her "Moo Cow" and I don't think she likes me for I don't really like her. See, she charged each and every dog that was in the "cow pen" with her which caused them to hide either in the dog house or on top of the dirt piles. This went on consistently for two days (poor Lila spent most of her days in the dog house) until she finally got used to them. So now she just eats Lila's dog food when she isn't around!

One of Sayre's rabbits had babies about a month ago and boy are they cute!! There are only two of them so maybe this means they'll get allot of attention!

One is what we call a "Blob" (it's really rolly polly and likes being held!) and the other one is rather wild. The one pictured is the wild one.
Another one of his rabbits had a litter late last week which I have yet to see. Baby animals are so special. They totally depend on their Mommas and you for survival.
Well, I think that's all the "important" stuff from this past month. Till next time......

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Hope Chest Party

This past Saturday my Momma and I had the opportunity to attend Bethany's thirteenth birthday party which was held at their beautiful Victorian home in Belton!
Sadly, they don't live here permanently but it was wonderful to have them "close" to us for two weeks!! What a blessing!

Bethany's parents are raising her to be a future keeper at home and with this in mind, they planned a Hope Chest Party for her thirteenth birthday! The guests were encouraged to bring a gift that Bethany could tuck away in her Hope Chest along with a recipe to help start her own cookbook!

The party started with a wonderful luncheon which was prepared by Bethany's mother and her helpers.

Next came the games!!!
Here the girls are trying to crack an egg into a bowl or cup blind folded!

It was so neat to see the girls cheerfully donning their aprons for each game! They all looked so pretty and femine!

There was not a lack of little ones either!

These little girls were kept occupied for an hour and a half or more with this car! I got the biggest kick out of watching them!

Babies were everywhere!! Infants down to toddlers were welcomed and loved over!

The girl on the left is Haviland, Bethany's younger sister! She calls me "Ashley Casserole" and I in turn call her "Haviland Francostein"! It's an ongoing joke between our two families!

"Momma and Friend"
Momma and I had been asked months earlier about speaking at the party which we readily agreed to. Momma was asked to bring a challenge and I was asked to share my testimony with the group. I shall post the testimony down below.
All in All it was a beautiful party that brought honor and glory to God.

This is what I shared with the young ladies at Bethany's birthday party. If you haven't read the post on the party (posted above, then do so before reading this).

Bethany- Happy Thirteenth Birthday! You have so much ahead of you during these next few years and I cannot wait to see how the Lord will work in your life! Your parents have asked me to share my testimony with you today, something that I feel that I should do especially as it is so evident that God has really done a work in my heart since I turned thirteen.
As you know, the Franco and Castlebury families have known each other for quite some time! I think that I can remember when you were born and how ecstatic your Momma was to have a girl!! So, you know what I am today but how much do know about what I was?
I was born into a Christian family, one that attended church every Sunday and sent their children to Christian school like everyone else in the local church. When I entered seventh grade my parents felt the Lord leading them to home school my younger brothers and I, something that I am eternally grateful for! If they had not done this I don’t know that I would be standing here today. Soon after this change in schooling the Lord began to convict and show my parents of certain areas that needed to change in our family. As these changes began to take effect I became bitter, hateful, and rebellious. I didn’t want to change because I didn’t want to be different and I thought that my parents were just trying to fit me into a mold. I didn’t trust their leadership and I most certainly wasn’t going to trust God. I was miserable and thought that my parents just needed to leave me alone so that I could “be my own person”. I wanted independence from my family and God; I wanted to be my own person. I wanted to have my own job, do my own thing, and not be accountable to anyone; but God wouldn’t allow me to have my own way.
I went on in this rebellious state for several years causing not only myself to be miserable and unhappy, but also my whole family. There were arguments, hateful words said by me, and a rebellious attitude that seemed to grow with each passing day. Finally, the Lord brought something into my life that caused me to deal with my heart which also meant dealing with my doubts about Salvation. My Mom took me to John 3:18 which says “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” and also to John 10:27-29 which says ”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” It was then that I realized that Salvation happens when you trust Him as your Savior and that once you are saved nothing can take it away! You are God’s forever! As my Mom said “It was as if the light finally came on!” in my heart and from that moment things began to change! I can’t tell you what changed first as I didn’t even know change was taking place, but I know that I began reading my Bible and cultivating a relationship with the Lord! I found that I wanted to know more about God and began to wonder what He was going to do with my life.
There have been many ups and downs in the past eight years since the Lord got a hold of my heart and the recurring theme that I see and hear from my parents is that God has worked a miracle in me! There is no other explanation! See, during my rebellious years I thought that marriage and children were optional and that women had a right to do whatever the men were doing. But now, eight years after the Lord got a hold of my heart, my way of thinking has completely changed! I now believe that a woman’s greatest calling is to be a keeper at home and raising up a future generation that brings honor and glory to God’s name! There is such fulfillment in this!
As I got closer to graduating from High School I began to wonder “what would the Lord have me to do? Where should I go to college? Does He want me to go to college? What should I major in?” These were all questions that I faced every day. I finally told the Lord that “if You want me to go to college I will: If You want me to stay home, I will” and I had such peace after telling Him that. As I talked with my parents and listened to their concerns, it became apparent to me that the Lord wanted me to be at home, learning from my Mother how to be a keeper at home. See, I didn’t want a career; I felt that my place was going to be as a keeper in my own home and that wasn’t going to be something that I would learn or be encouraged to do at a college. Where else can you learn and have hands on experience about taking care of a home and children than amongst your own family? During what would have been my freshman year of college my Grandfather had a stroke and my Mom spent allot of time in Michigan helping her Mother as they made the trek back and forth to the nursing home. While she was gone I ran the house. I cooked, cleaned, did laundry, ironed, had to keep the boys on track with school, and took on the responsibilities that my Mom had every day. During the next several years this was repeated several weeks out of each year and it was a real learning experience for me! I would not have traded it for anything!
Bethany, as you begin your thirteenth year I would encourage you in several areas. I would encourage you to keep a submissive heart before the Lord and your parents. You have some of the godliest parents that I know and the Lord may guide and direct them down paths that may seems lonely but remember that the Lord is leading them. I have been, and am going down, the path less trodden and it is lonely but I take comfort in knowing that this is where God would have me to go.
I would also encourage you to make the most of these next few years to learn more about home keeping. I personally believe that God created women to be keepers at home and I believe that this is what your parents believe as well. Learn from your Mother- learn how to make your house cozy and welcoming to your future husband, learn how to take care of a home, learn how to cook those really good but really “hard sounding” meals! Of course I’m sure you already know all this but I must encourage you on!!
Bethany, do not waste the next few years as I did. Use them to read good wholesome books that make you think and learn all that you can from your mother and father. These years will be gone in a flash- use them wisely and for God’s glory!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Thought for Today

I'm reading through So Much More a little at a time and the other day something jumped out at me and made me think. I thought I would share it with you today.

"As sad as this may sound, often the hardest people to get along with are our own family memebers. Think of the inter-familial relationships we see in the Bible: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, David's sons... even if most of us haven't sold any little brothers into slavery in Egypt yet, it's clear that getting along all the time is something all siblings struggle with.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! Pslam 133:1

It is likely that if we can learn to get along with our brothers and sisters, we can get along with anyone. Family life is where we practice Christian love and character.

Every time we are annoyed or provoked, God is testing us. We should learn to think of each trial as a moral test, which reveals where we really srand in our Christian walk. Do we pass our moral tests and refrain from exploding at our little brothers, or do we fail? These moral tests are an opportunity to mature in our godliness. We should be thankful for each one and make the most of it (James 1:2-4)"

Taken from So Much More by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin~Chapter 13-pgs. 199-200

Monday, May 19, 2008

Random Things from Around Here!

This shall give you an idea of what you might find at our place on any given afternoon! These things don't always happen but you never know when they will!
Billy likes to eat! Billy really likes to eat the cow feed!! This is not the first time that he's been caught relaxing in the cows' feed bin! It must get tiring having to stand up and eat!

Soon after locating Billy in the feed bin, I located Sayre and Sawyer......

.......In the stock tank going for a swim!!! Swimming in it was so obviously Sayre's idea that I had to laugh!

You know how hard it is to get a decent picture of the boys?!

While I was observing the antics of S&S, Lila was doing her best to get Bucks' attention!!! He is obviously doing his best to ignore her!

Sawyer was trying to pull Sayre's toes out of the water with those pliers!!
Well, the day is only halfway through- I wonder what we will find taking place this afternoon!

A Hymn For Sunday

This is going to be the hymn that I'll be thinking about and becoming flamiliar with this week.

Take Time to Be Holy
Words: W.D. Longstaff
Music: George C. Stebbins

Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children; Help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy. The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy. Let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, Whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, Still follow thy Lord
And, looking to Jesus, Still trust in His Word.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I've been musing lately..... Let me share my thoughts.

This is the time of year when people start hanging things out to dry instead of using their dryers. I am amongst that group of people and I have to admit that I absolutely LOVE taking the clean sheets, Sunday shirts, nicer clothes, or delicates out of the washer, putting them in a basket, and taking a stroll out to the clothesline! I find great satisfaction in accomplishing this little task. Why?

Maybe it's because we love crisp sun and breeze dried sheets on our beds (try it sometime!! It's wonderful!).... Maybe it's because I feel that I'm truly taking care of our family by taking extra pains with the clothes.... Maybe it's because hanging the clothes out to dry has been something that women have done for ages and I like doing the old fashioned things.... Whatever the reason I LOVE hanging the clothes out to dry! I feel the job has been well done as I fold the outdoor dried clothes!
What do you think?

Last weekend found Momma and I once again in the local antique mall looking at all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things from years gone by. We both came home with "goodies" that day but what I found touched me and made me think in a different way about antiques.

I found a set of four "place mats" and a set of six napkins; now, although they do not match each other we believe that they were made by the same caring hands. See, the fabrics were the same kind just slightly different shades of cream, the floss is what Momma thinks is silk on both sets, and the stitching is so incredibly neat and precise.

This is what the back looks like.... see how neat it is?! It is such a contrast to what you normally see.
As I looked at these I am struck with how much time it took someone to embroider these items. This wasn't accomplished in a week, it was a project. This lady obviously loved her home and took pride in how it looked and was kept. It's made me think about what I do in the home? Could I be doing a better job at what I do? With a little extra effort could I do a little something extra each day that would make the house a more welcome place (such as sweet the back porch, dust an extra room, take fifteen extra minutes to put a room back together, etc....). And I've started to look through the eyes of the "unknown visitors" that could show up unannounced. I'm here to help my Mother in what she does.... what else can I do to ease her load?

I just love this picture!! Sawyer arranged all my "garden rabbits" several weeks ago and then came and told me that "wa-wa's ea fower's"! Today the "wa-wa's" are still sitting there "munching" on pansies!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hymn for Sunday

Holy, Holy, Holy
Words by: Reginald Heber
Music by: John B. Dykes

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!