Monday, August 31, 2009

This, That, and a bit of the Other...

Last week was a bit of a busy week... running errands, rushing to appointments, packing orders, and keeping up with normal things in the midst of it all. I was anxiously awaiting Saturday's arrival as it meant that the day could be spent enjoying the great out doors!

The end of the season
The day was beautiful- perfect for hanging out laundry and gardening, so after my horn lesson I headed out to the garden. Daddy was planning on getting the garden plowed under and had headed out there bright and early to begin pulling up plant supports and the slowly dying plants. After discussing with him the areas that needed plowing I started pulling some weeds; the rain that we had received the afternoon before helped to make this task easier!

"I'm playing wif wywa bewle"
As soon as I finished the weeding, I hopped on the lawn mower (which is always in high demand here!) and began work on the dog pen. Sawyer helped for part of the time before informing me that he would much rather play with the dogs, specifically Lila, than mow!

Working together
Pretty soon I noticed that Sayre had taken over plowing the garden and that he had a happy helper with him!!! Sawyer loves anything tractors and is always eager to take a ride on one!
Sayre's help was really appreciated as Daddy had had to run someplace and didn't make it home until late in the afternoon. Sayre has really been picking up the slack around here and is turning into quite a fine young man.

Ready for his 'nap'
As the afternoon wore on, I began to notice that Sawyer had a glazed over look in his eyes... the look that he gets when he's tired. I asked him if he wanted a nap and he said yes... We brought out the picnic blanket for him to lay down on, he carted out his blanket full of stuffed animals, and plopped himself down.....

'Nap time'
... to read 'Curious George' books! I don't think he got much rest out of nap time though... he was up and running around thirty minutes after this photo was taken!!

Fall gardening
Momma had spent most of her day out in the cutting garden weeding, cleaning/sprucing up, and planting seeds for the fall garden. She got so much done and happy with how everything went!

At the end of the day
The day began winding down and everyone began to make their ways to the house around 7:00 for dinner. Sawyer remembered to pick up his nap time stuff and found a great way to only make ONE trip to the house with all of that stuff!!! :o)

Saturday was a very profitable for us all; yes, it was work but it was work that we had had planned for quite some time to do. It felt so good to get it all accomplished and was almost invigorating to see it all happen! It's given me the extra incentive to keep plugging away at everything there is to do this week!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

Follow On

Words by: William O. Cushing, 1823-1902
Music by:Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;

Everywhere He leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!

Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;

With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,
Danger cannot fright me if my Lord is near.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Savior would my soul ever keep;

He will lead me safely in the path that He has trod,

Up to where they gather on the hills of God.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!

Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!

Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Now that the weather has brought temperatures that are perfect for working outdoors, I've taken a fresh interest in the garden, taking the dogs for walks, and just plain 'ol being outdoors! I tend to neglect these things when it becomes to hot, so I'm always thrilled when the temperatures drop down to the lower nineties or upper eighties! On top of the wonderful temps, the Lord has also sent some much needed rain our way! I love to hear the storms come through at night and to go out the next morning and see the water laden grass, trees, and flowers.
With all of the above happening towards the end of last week, I decided to head out to the garden and get to work pulling things up!

Jasper & Lila
Before I get into the gardening part of this post, let me give you a quick peek into what I've been observing this morning. Lila, on the left, has been out since yesterday evening but she's been hanging around with Jasper all morning. With the two dogs staying in the vicinity of the back porch, it gets to be quite interesting as we walk out the door!!! Lila lays in front of the door and Jasper sits at the top of the stairs!! Mommas been coming in with arm fulls of stuff (she's going through the attic) and it becomes rather interesting at times!! Thankfully, they do seem to understand what we mean when we shoo them off! :o)

Anyhow... now to the gardening part!

A Work in Progress
I spent a good portion of my Saturday out in the vegetable garden, which has gone wild of late. The sunflowers had finished blooming and were ready to be pulled out so that was my main focus. As I stood and contemplated our poor garden, I decided that since the ground was wet it was the perfect time to pull weeds!

Out In the Midst of it All...
So pull away I did, AFTER pulling up the sunflowers. There were two plots of sunflowers and a plot that was full of weeds to attack, so I utilized 'the beast' (Daddy's truck) to help haul all this stuff off. By the time I called it an afternoon, I had a huge truck load of plants and weeds to dump!

I felt quite satisfied with what had gotten done! I love seeing things go from looking awful to looking good!!! That part of the garden looks one hundred percent better and I now have a plan of action for the rest of it!!! I shall be working my way through the plots on the right side on the garden (in the photo- the mass of green in the photo is our watermelon patch, not weeds!!) as they are the easiest and probably most needed at the moment. This will be my focus for the next several days... weeding and pulling out the plants that are done for the season. Fall is almost here!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

I Am Resolved

Words by: Palmer Hartsough, 1844-1932
Music by: James H. Fillmore, 1849-1936

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight;

Things that are higher, things that are nobler-

These have allured my sight.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free,

Jesus, greatest, highest,

I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;

He is the true One, He is the just One-

He hath the words of life.

I will hasten to Him,

Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth-
He is the living way.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest,

I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to enter the kingdom,
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may best me,
Still will I enter in.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free,
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Something I've Been Pondering On.

My family and I attend a small church out in the middle of the country. There are about thirty people in the congregation with the majority of it being older couples who have a burning desire to serve the Lord. They are very dear and precious folks who have been wonderful examples to us.
Two Sundays ago, my Mom and I were approached about helping out with the music for the next several Sundays, as our main pianist needed to take some time to rest and recuperate after surgery. This meant that Momma would become the pianist and I would continue to play my French Horn; not a real big change but a change that has us both 'on our toes' to be prepared for piano related sight-reading!

This past Sunday morning was the first day for us... everything went well and the hymns that were sung were so encouraging! As we moved in to the offertory and the special music part of the service I laid my horn aside, picked up the hymn book I had brought with me, and sat down at the piano. The organist and I were to play the offertory together and then I was on for the special music. I was nervous. We don't rehearse beforehand. I'm playing multiple notes and using multiple fingers at one time. I was in a nervous sweat and my hands were slick. I had not had a chance to go over the special that I was to be playing. Granted it was a hymn that I knew well, but having a chance to run through it before-hand helps one feel more confident. I was in a position that my piano teacher had told me about on numerous occasions and attempted to prepare me for.

As I sat there listening to one of the dear older men stand and thank the Lord for the young people in our church and the talents that each one has, my mind was drawn to how the Lord will use a person if they will allow themselves to be used. How much of a blessing and encouragement they can be to others if they would just be willing to give of themselves. How one plays, whether the person performing thinks it's good or bad, doesn't matter as it can be a huge blessing to those listening and will bring honor and glory to the Lord.

As I sat there thinking about this, I realized that it didn't really matter if I was nervous before playing; what mattered was my heart attitude. Was I doing this grudgingly/unwillingly or with a heart that truly sought the Lords' honor and glory through what I was going to be playing. It wasn't that long ago that I would not have been caught dead playing the offertory let alone the special... I didn't think I was good enough (and I still think that), knew that I would mess up, and be so nervous that I wouldn't be able to play the hymn right. But I finally came to the point where I realized that my ability to play the piano and french horn are God given gifts; I shouldn't keep them to myself but instead be willing to use them.

As I pondered these thoughts, I began to ask the Lord to help me convey the message of the hymn as I played. I wanted the focus to be on the Lord and not on me. Yes, I'll admit that I asked Him for a calm heart and hands as I played, but my focus was not on how 'well' I was going to play but on the message of the hymn truly being conveyed. Once I began to play, to feel the solid keys under my fingers, and to hear the words of one of my favorite hymns resound through the room "He leadeth me, oh blessed thought! Oh words with heav'nly comfort fraught..." I knew that no matter how 'bad' my playing was, the Lord was still going to be glorified.

So now you may be asking, "what's the purpose of this rambly post?"... Well, I remember what it was like to be asked to play for a song service (as in 'congregational singing', offertory, and possibly special) or offertory, and the thick ribbon of nervousness that would streak through my system for days or weeks in advance. I couldn't play like the main pianist did or like the others who had these big magnificent offertories, but I could play and that was all that was needed and asked of.

I suppose the point of this post is to encourage any 'players of the piano' (or any other instrument for that matter) like me, to be willing to let the Lord use your talent instead of hiding it. Yes, it's difficult and nerve wracking at first to step out of your comfort zone and play in front of others, but once you take the first step the following ones become easier. When you know that you are going to be playing (this could be days, weeks, or moments before) begin asking the Lord to be your strength at that time. Ask Him to help you convey the message of the hymn, to focus on giving Him the honor and glory instead of seeking your own, and to speak to you through this time.

May we truly seek to use our lives to honor and glorify the Lord!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hymn for Sunday

Trusting Jesus

Words by: Edgar Page Stites, 1836-1921
Music by: Ira D. Sankey, 1840-1908

Simply trusting ev'ry day,
Trusting through a stormy way;

Even when my faith is small,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him what-e'er befall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;

While He leads I cannot fall;

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,

Trusting as the days go by;

Trusting Him what-e'er befall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;

If in danger for Him call;

Trusting Jesus, that is all

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him what-e'er befall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;

Till within the jasper wall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,

Trusting as the days go by;

Trusting Him what-e'er befall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Random Day

Early this morning Momma, Sayre, Trevor and Thelma headed out to the Greene's to pick green beans! It was perfect weather for picking- cool and cloudy, so off they headed. Just as a note- the Greene's have more beans than they can put up or use, so they have kindly let us pick several times.
That left Sawyer and I here to hold down the fort...

Loading the stereo up with CD's
The first order of business was to put on some music to help cheer the place up! No, we weren't sad or unhappy, but it was a little quieter than normal and with it being cloudy and a bit foggy outside we could stand some happy lively music to help make the place seem more alive!

Morning Work
After that we cleaned the kitchen up, ate breakfast, and worked on housework. Sawyer loves to be involved in whatever we are doing. If he sees us washing dishes or cooking he dashes for his black stool so that he can get involved. Right now he's working on the finer art of drying dishes; he thoroughly enjoys washing (it's more like playing in the water!) so it's time for him to learn the 'technique' of drying a clean dish! :o)

Play Time
Once we got our housework finished I had Sawyer pull out some toys to occupy himself while I tended to some computer related business. He's a very busy little boy and kept himself occupied until Mom got home (anyone driving down the driveway is an event and will most likely be greeted by Sawyer standing on the back porch!).

The Morning Outing
Soon after Momma got home, Sawyer and I loaded up and headed into Honea Path for a quick shopping trip. He even took his cherry tomato with him... I'm not sure why, but took it he did! :o) He had been out in the garden with Momma for a bit which is where it came from!
It's always an adventure to take this three year old shopping, especially if there aren't carts to 'contain' him in. These times are very good opportunities for me to learn patience and to teach him to control himself in these 'real life experiences'.

Busy Snappin'
This afternoon has been just a good as the morning! Momma and Sayre came home with a putty bucket full of green beans this morning, so I spent a while out on the front porch snapping away and enjoying the outdoors! There was a nice breeze, lots of white clouds in the sky, and the outdoors to observe and listen to! It was terrific!

Yet Again...
Yes, more beans means more canning which is what's going on at the moment! Thankfully it's just beans and only a few at that!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In the Sewing Room

The past few days have been really hot here is South Carolina which have made it perfect for indoor tasks. Like... sewing!!! The sewing room has been a busy place of late and I've really enjoyed working with others in there; even though we are working on different projects, the fellowship, banter, and conversation all make our times together memorable!

Busily constructing
I had mentioned in last Thursdays' post that the sewing room was going to be busy that afternoon. Well, it was busy not only on Thursday afternoon also the entire day Friday!!! Thelma came visitin' both days, bringing her sewing machine and goods to sew. We had a blast!

A Creative 'Mess'
(one has to make a mess in order to create something good/beautiful, right? That's how it works in the kitchen so surely it applies here!)

This table is perfect for cutting fabric out on, as you can see, but it was not destined for much fabric cutting on those two days! Momma was in the midst of creating or adding something on to a new pattern... I'm still not sure what it was all about, although I think she did get it figured out!

Taking a picture break
Monday and Tuesday of this week have been spent in the sewing room as well. I've been working on a blouse while Momma has been focusing her attention on a dress.
Both of us have had the 'itch' (strong desire) to sew these past few weeks and we're thoroughly enjoying our time spent together in the sewing room! She laughs at me though... I sit down to do the simplest thing (such as stay stitch the neckline) and will inevitably have problems; first my thread breaks and then I have bobbin issues. Once I get those sorted out my tension is wrong and then my bobbin starts acting up again!!! It's enough to drive a person batty!!! Thankfully she finds entertainment in it!

A New Trick
While us ladies were busy in the sewing room last Friday, Sawyer came up with a new trick. He enjoys reading a book that shows a baby fox holding his bottle with his feet. Sawyer decided to try this out to see if it works! It was quite entertaining to walk into the living room and see him doing this. "What in the world are you doing?" was my first response. "Hold that pose while I get my camera" was the next! :o) Little brothers are so much fun!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking Back...

This year has been a wonderful year; a year of changes, growth, learning, new experiences, and overall wonderful times for my family and I.

The Wedding Party
The biggest change of this year took place at the beginning of the year, which was spent gearing up for, and rejoicing in, the marriage of Trevor and Thelma! Mom and I were involved in making the bridesmaids dresses while the boys helped Trevor finish up his house. It was an exciting time, although sometimes a bit crazy and hectic, as a new arm of the Castlebury family was established!

Spring Time gardening...
Soon after the wedding, we began gearing up for our 2009 gardening season and put allot of work into getting the garden ready for planting. Once the garden was growing well and bearing fruit, we began to preserve or can the produce that was given to us or came from our garden. Since canning green beans was on our 'want to learn how to do' list, a pressure canner was invested in and we've been learning how to use it; not only for canning but also for everyday cooking!! Did you know that you can have a meal that contains dry beans ready in about a half an hour??? Amazing... and very tasty too!!!

Momma & I putting up tomatoes last year...
Adding in a few (ok, forty-two to be exact!) chickens, reading up on gardening, broadening our sewing repertoire, and a host of other things have all made this year a wonderful and memorable one! I am truly blessed with the Mother that the Lord has given me, as she has so much wisdom in many areas and a thirst to learn about even more

Workin' Away
But there is one other thing that has taken place this year... one that affects me. At the beginning of January my Dad, after corresponding with a young man for several months, granted him permission to get to know me. Ryan and I have spent this year getting to know each other, under the guidance of our parents. Now, eight months later, we have entered into a time of courtship where we are getting to know each other in a deeper way with the intent of determining whether the Lord would have us marry.

This is a time of excitement for both Ryan and I (and our families!) as we seek the Lords' will and watch the Lord work in our lives! As we've gotten to know each other, I've been so impressed with Ryan's heart for the Lord and his desire to be in the center of the Lord's will. I've been challenged in my own walk with the Lord; challenged to seriously search out the Lord's heart in all things and to bring myself, even more, under the Lord's control. What a blessing it is to have friends that challenge and encourage us in our walk with the Lord!

Yes, the past eight months have been wonderful... a time of many changes and additions, a time of learning and growing, and a time of growing closer as a family. They sure have flown by in a hurry!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hymn for Sunday

Keep Walking with the Lord

Words by: Frank Garlock, 1930-
Music by:Frank Garlock, 1930- ; Flora Jean Garlock, 1930-

Jesus wants to keep us in His care;
Ev'ry-where we go He's always there.

He can give us joy beyond compare,

Walking in the goodness of the Lord.

Keep walking with the Lord all the way;

Keep trusting in His Word ev'ry day.

Keep looking for the Son, watch and pray-

Keep walking , trusting, all the way,

Looking, watching, praying ev'ry day.

If we follow Jesus, He will lead;
He will then supply our ev'ry need.

Absolute success is guaranteed-

Walking in the goodness of the Lord.

Keep walking with the Lord all the way;

Keep trusting in His Word ev'ry day.

Keep looking for the Son, watch and pray-

Keep walking, trusting, all the way,
Looking, watching, praying ev'ry day.

Jesus is our Savior, God and King;
We can look to Him for ev'ry-thing.

After all He's done, let's shout and sing-

Walking in the goodness of the Lord.

Keep walking with the Lord all the way;
Keep trusting in His Word ev'ry day.

Keep looking for the Son, watch and pray-

Keep walking, trusting, all the way,

Looking, watching, praying ev'ry day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Quick Catch Up...

Since my last post, well over a week ago now, we have been wonderfully busy around here!! I'm so thankful for the work to do; as nice as having 'nothing' to do for a whole entire day/s sounds, I do believe it would become 'not-so-nice' very quickly. I enjoy having things to do!

My camera has not been used much of late, but I shall try to give you a glimpse into some of the activities that we've been involved in (sorry, no 'action' photos. I'm not sure why I didn't think to get my camera out!)

Putting up garden produce...
About a week and a half ago, our Pastor's wife gave us a TON of tomatoes!!! Since our tomato plants seem to like the nice green shade of it's fruit, Mom let her know that she was more than willing to take any and all tomatoes that were given to this dear lady! She has now provided us with almost 50 pounds of tomatoes... I think. So, Mommas been making tomato sauce and juice this past week which translates to about 24 pints and a half of sauce and around 10 pints and a half of juice, with more tomatoes still to do. We also put up 35 quarts of green beans with the desire to do more. And finally, we've done a smattering of jams/jellies and relishes. It's been fun and rewarding to see the fruits of our labors!

Voracious Eaters...
Sometime during the afternoons, I head out and visit with the chickens. They are quite amusing to watch and will come running when they hear the gate clang- they think you have something for them (which, we usually do!) I let them out into Momma's garden area for several days, which they really enjoyed scratching around in, but since they got into everything I decided to put them back in their pen. Still, they cleaned the place up pretty well!!
What is it about watching chickens that is so relaxing and almost addicting?

Boy stuff
An afternoon occurrence here, is watching Sayre dig a hole. "Why is he digging a hole?" you may ask... well, I'm not really sure! I've heard that he's digging the pond out, but to me digging the pond out means that you... well, dig the pond out, not dig a hole beside it!!! Whatever his reason may be behind removing the dirt I know that he's enjoying, it gaining skills on the tractor, and exercising his planning/design qualities!

The new addition...
This Blue Heeler is Tristan's newest friend! He's been here over a week now and it's amazing how well he has fit into the dog family! We haven't had a single problem and that's with him and our three dog being penned up TOGETHER for hours each day!! It's quite amazing! As you can tell, he and Buck are getting along splendidly!

An unusual occurrence
One Monday evening, not to long ago, we had a 'traffic jam' in our driveway! Trevor had been by to pick up a load off his junk pile and met Daddy on his way out. They sat and talked for twenty or thirty minutes... then Tristan drove up, got out, and started talking with them! Mom and I were in the kitchen watching all this from the windows, and had to laugh at it all!! The only thing that would have made it even better would have been if Collin had drove up and joined in!

That's a little bit of what's going on in our neck of the woods. Tomorrow, Momma will be working on getting the remainder of the tomatoes canned and I'm not for certain if we will be getting more green beans. If we are, I know where I'll be! :o) I also have the 'itch' to sew which is good as I have an uncompleted skirt just begging for me to finish it. Momma also has the 'itch' and I hear that Thelma may be coming over during the next few days for a sewing 'party'; sounds like the sewing room will have the sound of humming sewing machines resonating through it real soon!!!