Saturday, August 29, 2015

How Great Thou Art

With taking in the diverse beauty of God's creation at the conservation area for Leah's birthday, the hymn How Great Thou Art kept coming to mind. And as I looked through the photos on my camera, it just seemed fitting to combine some of them with the words to this beautiful hymn . . .

Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed.


Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!


When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!


And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in, 
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God how great Thou art!


Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

And to know, the One who created all this intricate beauty in the world around us and who cares for His creation, is our God and our Savior. The One who loves us and has redeemed by His blood all of those who have believed in Him, and who faithfully guides His children along the way. He is worthy of all of our praise, adoration, and thanksgiving . . . indeed, how great is our God!

"O may Your glorious name be blessed and exalted above all blessing and praise! You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, the heaven of the heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is on them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before You. You are the Lord God . . . " Nehemiah 9:5b-7a

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Different Sort of Week

Well, this past week turned out a little differently than planned! Last Tuesday we all started getting what we think was the flu, and this week we are on the mend.

My computer, though, did more than get sick . . . it died. Which means it's back in the shop getting a new hard drive, so I have been computer-less for awhile. Thankfully after my last computer problem, I had gotten an external, back-up hard drive so almost everything that was on my computer is backed up (except for some of my photos - which is why this post isn't the garden update post that I had planned as I need to take new ones!)

With being sick and all and, for me with not having my computer for my business work, our original work plans of the week changed quite a bit! Before we got sick, though, we did have a wonderful morning celebrating Leah's 27th birthday. Per her request (and with unanimous consent), we went out to our favorite conservation area.

The morning was cool, there was some cloud cover, a wide array of wildflowers were in full bloom, birds were calling . . . it made for a glorious morning to be out! Here are a few photos from our time there (and I have some more nature ones which will be in a later post) . . .

The birthday girl :)
How very blessed and thankful I am to have her as my sister! She is one of the sweetest and most cheerful people I know . . . plus she has a lot of wisdom and helps me so often with her counsel and advice.


Can you see it? 

 Here is a closer view. There were a lot of these on the rocks right at this spot, so much so that every step we took there were so many that were jumping out of our way!

Dad looking at a shorebird off in the distance

So peaceful

A Green Heron (which we don't often see) let us get fairly close and watch him for awhile. It was fun to see him catching a few fish here and there, too. 

A beautiful Monarch butterfly on the blooming milkweed

Although our time there was a little short, we thoroughly enjoyed it! And thankfully the sickness held off long enough for Leah to have a special birthday. :) Now with being on the mend, we're getting back to 'normal' life and enjoying the beautiful days we have been having here lately. It almost feels like fall is in the air which is so pleasant after our very hot stretch of weeks!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day at the State Fair

I didn't intend to unexpectedly disappear for awhile! The last week or so was very busy (and a good busy), so much so that there just wasn't time to post. This week is going to be another busy one, but I determined to get at least one post done!

Since the last post . . .

~ We had two more wonderful Sundays with deep and rich teaching and discussion as we continue studying through 1 Corinthians, as well as encouraging fellowship. Plus we had the blessing of new people joining us, one of which was traveling through our area and was able to stop for both Sundays. Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week!

~ Our family also spent a much enjoyed day at the State Fair (which this post will be about. :) While there, it was so nice to meet for the first time a family that is friends with one of the men in our home church. We had a wonderful time visiting with them for awhile and look forward to spending more time with them in the future.

~ Leah and I had two busy Saturdays at the farmers market.

~ A great deal of business work was done with making products and restocking my online store, marketing, and more.

~ Leah and I dug a couple hundred pounds of potatoes today (242 lbs. to be exact!)

Life certainly hasn't been dull. :)

In the midst of last week's busy-ness, we had a day planned for going to the State Fair. This is a yearly highlight for us, and we picked this particular day as one of our favorite events was going on that evening . . . cowboy mounted shooting!

We were up fairly early Thursday morning, got chores done, loaded up the truck, and headed out. We had such a fun and enjoyable day there! And here is a glimpse into some of it . . .

Watching Angus cattle being shown and judged

Watching 4-H youth showing sheep. It was fun to watch them with their sheep!

Part of the time during the showing, I went for a walk through the sheep barn which was enjoyable. This one was especially friendly.

Mom, Dad and Leah looking at the restored tractors

My favorite. :) Really like the Farmalls!

Leah and I looking at the honey and herbs in the FFA building (photo by Dad)

A few of the Budweiser Clydesdales - they are beautiful horses!

Mom and Leah in line in the dairy building to get some ice cream for all of us. A pleasant treat on this hot day! (photo by Dad)

Leah and I on the way to the Home-ec building (photo by Dad)

Some of the many quilts

Smocked dresses and baby things . . . I would love to learn how to do this someday!

A neat antique display (photo by Dad)

Leah and I loved this quilt!

Mom and Leah looking at one of the displays

A couple of times through the day, the Missouri Department of Conservation had a presentation about two birds of prey that a zoo in southern Missouri had brought up to help educate the public about these beautiful birds.

Both birds had interesting stories of how they came to be a part of presentations like this, and it was really neat to see them up so close and interesting to learn more about each species.

The Great Horned Owl (photo by Dad)

Phoenix, the 26 year old female Bald Eagle (photo by Dad)

As evening fell, we made our way to where the Cowboy Mounted Shooting was going to be. We got there in plenty of time as we wanted to make sure we didn't miss the opening ceremonies which are always really neat! First introducing the flags of all the states represented at the event, and then the American flag and the singing of the national anthem.

(photo by Dad)

Then the announcer prayed, even mentioning the Lord Jesus Christ, and one could tell that he earnestly meant what he was praying and had a relationship with the Lord.

At the close of the opening ceremonies, the announcer asked all the veterans to stand and gave a beautiful tribute to them. After working with veterans at the riding center, it was even more touching to our hearts than at previous times. Especially seeing a younger veteran make his way to his feet in front of us, cane in hand. Tears welled in his eyes as the announcer gave the tribute and the crowd clapped in honor of the veterans.

After that, the cowboy mounted shooting began! We stayed for the whole first round which lasted several hours. It was exciting and a lot of fun to watch!

Riding through the course and shooting the first set of white balloons - reds were next 
(photo by Dad)

Another rider on the home stretch (photo by Dad)

This was a great close to an already much enjoyed day!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

An Antiquing Outing

Back in the beginning of July on a very unusually chilly day (the temperature was in the 50's!), Dad was going to go pick up a load of hay. It just so happens that he drives by our favorite antique store on the way, so he offered to drop Mom, Leah and I off beforehand and then pick us up afterwards.

We three had such a fun 'ladies outing' together! (And all the photos are courtesy of Leah's cellphone.)


We meandered up and down the aisles, admiring beautiful pieces of furniture, puzzling over unusual, unidentified items, laughing at some of the humorous things, looking through old books, wondering about who would have used what when and where, and more.

Looking down one of the many aisles

This booth is always full of a wide assortment of items - usually lots of tools and old car parts and things.

Leah's new reading material?
Not exactly. :) She was looking through some magazines when I was going to take her picture so she just picked up the one her hand was on at the moment!

Any guesses what caught my eye here? If you guessed the dresser, you would be right! Isn't it beautiful? It just would need its bright silver knobs replaced with drawer pulls instead (like the one on the second drawer from the bottom.) 

Me when admiring some of the beautiful pieces of furniture and other wood items

By the time we were nearly finished, Dad came in, and we enjoyed going through the remainder of the store together. For a family who really likes antiques (and doing just about anything together :), it was a fun outing for a dreary, rainy, chilly day!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Highlights

How does one convey in words such special moments as we have been able to enjoy the last little while? I am not exactly sure, though I will do my best! Along with a few of the photos that were taken . . .

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Last week, Leah was able to go with me to the nursing home and what a wonderful time we had there! It was so nice to introduce her to friends, sing together with her, and visit with the residents. Dear "E" was in her normal spot in the dining room when we arrived, and it was so good to see her again! She joined us at the piano and using an extra hymnal we had brought, sang along with every hymn. It was very special . . . as it was when "J" joined us as well and clapped and swayed along to the music.

Leah has a beautiful singing voice, and with having her there, I was able to sing my normal alto parts which was easier! I think the residents enjoyed her voice as well. :) Residents were hearing the music back in their rooms, and then coming down the halls in order to watch and listen. One of the kitchen workers even joined in singing along with the chorus of How Great Thou Art!

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The past three weeks, Leah and I volunteered at the riding center for two days each week, and we so loved our times there! The riding center is taking a break from classes until sometime in September so we're missing our little friends this week. Yet the memories from the past days warm our hearts and bring a smile to our faces as we remember them, and here are just a few of many . . .

(And as I do not have permission from their parents to share photos of their children here (save for one) the few photos shared are selectively cropped. :)

Me having fun with one of the little boys I worked with each class (this was after his class was finished for the day, and he had gotten this big ribbon.) He is a little sweetheart and loved to "give" us "m&m's" off of his riding helmet which was covered in a fabric that had them on it

~ One adorable little girl was having quite a hard time during her classes and would cry as soon as she was taken from her parents, and then cry for her Daddy her entire ride. Leah ended up being able to go with her one week (and then all the following weeks) and did an amazing job with her as she does with all of the children . . . so much so that before long, little "L" wasn't crying and was actually having fun as Leah talked with her and kept her mind and eyes busy. And the very next week, L was eager to ride, climbed up onto her horse all by herself, with a big, happy smile on her face. It was amazing to see the transformation, and her parents were thrilled and grateful!

Leah with "L" after her class . . . and you can see part of her ribbon which she was excited about!

~ Remember the 7 year old boy I mentioned in this post? Our last day together was so special! I went out to greet him and his family when they arrived, and he reached out for my hand, let go of his mom's hand, and then wrapped both his arms around me and pressed in close. He stood that way for about 4-5 minutes until it was his turn to mount his horse. Every once in awhile, he would pull back, look up at me with his beautiful smile, eyes squinted almost shut, and then pat me with his hand before hugging me again. What a precious little boy he is! It was bittersweet saying goodbye to him at the end of his class, as they might be moving. :( I am so thankful, though, for the times spent with him, and some treasured photos of he and I together.

~ And Will . . . sharing about the riding center wouldn't be complete without mention of him! This little boy is so special. As always, I loved my times spent with him!

 Will (with his ribbon) and I after his class was done - he did really well this week! And his grandpa was so kind to take this photo for me.

Leah and I had some much enjoyed moments with his little sisters as well . . . lots of hugs and big smiles. Plus a few hugs for me from sweet Will, too, after his ride and before he dismounted.

Leah with another of her little riders

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One evening after getting home from the riding center, Leah and I were out doing chores, when who should come up, but two little neighbor girls (ages 6 and 8, and who are friends, not sisters.) When seeing them down on our driveway awhile back, my parents had invited them to come see our baby goats sometime, and so they came visiting! They are both really sweet, and we enjoyed our time with them. They loved the baby goats, and while petting them was fun, I think their favorite part was feeding them grass. They were pretty thrilled when the goats would eat right out of their hands!

Leah also brought out her Golden Retriever, Mandy, for them to pet, and then we took a peek at the chickens on their roosts in the coop as the girls were wanting to see them, too. They have a standing invitation to come back again sometime, so I wouldn't be surprised if two little girls show up at our front door again. :)

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One of our cheery sunflowers

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And sometimes the special moments and the ones that warm my heart, are more simple ones like our family gathered around the dinner table last evening visiting together. At one point after the meal, Dad shared something that had stood out to him during his Bible reading about being "strong and courageous" (from the book of Joshua), and then another made comments about it, and then I shared something that was on my heart that related, and the back and forth conversation continued among all of us . . . sharing, encouraging, edifying, having our hearts knit closer together, and more.

I know I have said this before, but I am so thankful for my family!

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And these are just a few of the many. What have been some of the highlights of your week?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Just Popping In . . .

To let you all know that there is a 15% off sale in my Niobrara Farms store through August 17th . . .


And I have a couple of new products, too . . .


These are the two varieties that are available so far and more will be coming soon. It is exciting to have them now moved from the 'developmental stage' to being listed on the website!

There is a new soap curing as well . . .


This is a blend of Rosemary, Lavender, Grapefruit, and Orange essential oils, and it just might be my favorite of all the soaps now. When making this, there was another 'first', too . . . using clays to color the soap. It is going to be fun to experiment more with them!

And one last note . . . if I am not blogging here, you might find me posting on my business blog or on Niobrara Farms' facebook page, and you are welcome to stop by there.

Needless to say, it has been just a little busy around here lately. :) I have quite a few posts in mind to do, and I'll see if I can get a couple of them up this week . . . a garden update, the nursing home, visit to an antique store, and more. Now I'm off to go get the laundry off the line, do some other work, and then make dinner with Leah!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Creation Conference in South Carolina

Creation Ministries International (CMI) is one of our favorite creation ministries, and over the years, we have been blessed by a lot of their teaching and materials. When my parents found out CMI was hosting a week long conference in South Carolina in July, and it was over their 35th wedding anniversary, they decided to go!

As the day drew close for their departure, excitement was building and preparations were in full force. We had a lot of fun those days, and finally, they were on their way early on a Sunday morning.

The conference started on Monday and lasted through Friday, and it was full of excellent teaching, much fellowship with other people attending the conference, deep discussions with some of the speakers, and more. They had such a wonderful, encouraging, and refreshing time!

And here are some of the photos that they captured during their trip . . .

On their way! With the Tennessee hills in the distance

The view from their motel room in South Carolina

Mom enjoying the vast, beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean 

One day they walked out on this pier and visited with the fishermen that were there. One of which caught a small shark while they were there.

A speaker giving one of his sessions at the conference . . . Dad and Mom said that the sessions were all so good! Mom took a lot of notes, and they brought home quite a few books and DVD materials as well which we have already been benefiting from. 

In the area where all the books, DVD's, and other materials were 

A session by Dr. Robert Carter 

 Having lunch with new friends

Dad out on the beach looking at shells and things 

 The conference hosted a tour at Ripley's Aquarium which Dad and Mom really enjoyed! There are so many fascinating sea creatures there.

Dad photographing (and the two photos below are ones he took.) 

An interesting looking lobster

A few of the many diverse and beautiful fish in the aquarium

Where the conference meals were. Dad is in the center visiting with one of the men they met there. There was a lot of time for fellowship which was a blessing to both Dad and Mom! 

Dr. Russell Humphreys during one of his sessions

Dad and Mom . . . so glad someone took this one of them together!

Mom and one of her new friends 

The beautiful sunrise the last morning they were there. They got up early to enjoy time at the beach together before the conference began again. 

Mom collecting seashells 

She loves the ocean (they both do in fact) and really enjoyed this morning time spent there 

My beautiful mother 

One of Dad's many creative photographs he took . . . it was so fun to look through all of them

Looking from the beach up to their motel

A Palm Tree

The beautiful ocean . . . one can almost feel the fresh breeze, smell the salty air, and hear the seabirds calling and the waves rolling in

 Mom and another new friend walking along the beach

They were so glad they could take this trip, and it was again, a time of such spiritual encouragement and learning, wonderful fellowship and more. Once they arrived back home, then came the fun of hearing all about it, looking at the materials they brought home, seeing all the beautiful shells and treasures they found, and simply enjoying being together again!

As a little side note, CMI is having smaller speaking events in many states through the rest of 2015. Check out their events page to see if one of their speakers will be near you!