Saturday, April 30, 2016

Garden Planting and Sprinkler Fun

Our garden is finally getting planted! For awhile, one thing after another prevented it . . . first was wet weather . . . then cold weather . . . then Dad began tilling the garden, and the tiller broke.

He did some initial repairs on it, and then Leah replaced the carburetor (like Dad, she is talented at repairing things! Such as our clothes washer which she fixed recently as well.) And then thanks to her . . . the tiller started again!

One of the first things to get planted were the potatoes, so I cut those into pieces this past Sunday, and we planned to plant on Tuesday . . . .

In addition to Kennebec's, we're growing some purple potatoes this year!

In preparation for the planting, Leah tilled up the section of the garden for the potatoes this past Monday. Meanwhile, since we had a sweet little guest who had joined us for the day, Mom was watching him while he played in the sprinkler.

I came out for a bit and took the above photo, and then he asked me: "Sarah, could you please play in the sprinkler with me?" How could I resist? :) Quick change of clothes, and then we had a fun time for quite a long time . . . and at his direction: ran through front ways, sideways, gave the water high-fives, raced each other, and lots more and laughed so much!

A sprinkler break to watch Leah till . . . he was fascinated :)

After noticing a change in the forecast of rain for that evening, we decided it would be a wise idea to plant the potatoes that evening after he left. But when he found out we were going to be planting that day, he asked if he could help plant just a few :) . . . so we did! He helped plant 7 seed potatoes and dug several more holes. He loved helping! And was enthralled with the process.

 Digging another hole

There were a few volunteer potato plants growing in the untilled part of the garden, so we dug those up together so he could see how they grew from the potato piece buried in the ground. His response: "That is SO cool!" (or something like that. :) I love seeing children's excitement as they learn new things and especially about this beautiful, amazing world that God created!

After he left, then Mom, Leah and I got busy planting the rest of them! Three long rows . . . .

 Leah digging holes

Leah digging and me planting . . . as I walked on the moist, warm, freshly tilled dirt, I couldn't help but think of some of the words to the song Sowin' Love: 

"I used to love to walk behind my Daddy,
As he plowed our garden every spring
Our little bare feet in the dirt would make me happy, 
as we talked about what harvest time would bring." :)

Mom taking a break from digging 

We were able to get all the potatoes planted which was a good thing as it rained a lot that night!

Once things dried out a bit later in the week, Mom planted the tomato plants and a bunch of other things, too. It is exciting to finally be getting the spring garden in! And always fun to do so with family . . . and little friends. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Day at a Conservation Area

The outdoors + our family = a marvelous day together!

On my Dad's birthday a little over a week ago, we were up fairly early in the morning and after getting 'home tasks' and chores done, loaded up in the truck with cameras, binoculars, drinks, snacks, bird books, and set off for a day at our favorite conservation area.

We had such a wonderful time! Soaking up lots of sunshine . . . walking most of the time . . . talking (and laughing :) together . . . seeing so many diverse bird species . . . enjoying the gift of family . . . and enjoying the beauty of God's creation . . . .

Dad photographing a beautiful little Palm Warbler (see the photo below). We saw so many of these striking (and friendly) little birds! 

A Palm Warbler (and I just have to say :) . . . my Dad is so talented with photography! I love seeing the photos he captures.) 

Me out walking to find a little sparrow that dove down into the brush . . . he eventually hopped out, had himself a bath in the bit of water, and let me enjoy watching him. And identifying him: a Savannah Sparrow. (Photo by my Dad)

My beautiful sister, Leah :)

Mom and Leah watching warblers 

It always makes my breath catch a bit to see one of these majestic birds soaring right over head. This Bald Eagle gave me a beautiful view of him . . . and the photo does NOT do it justice!

So peaceful . . . . 

Dad photographing a pair of eagles on the nest 

Love this photo that my Dad captured . . . and while you can't see them, there are three chicks in there!

 Looking back towards the truck and Dad and Mom

The trees are really leafing out now, and with the sun shining through the clouds, it gave quite the contrast with all the blue water. 

Mom and Leah watching more warblers 


Mom and Dad . . . they had just had fun walking over to one of the pools on the right (on the other side of the trees) to look at some shorebirds  

Leah and I watching a little Swamp Sparrow

Leah looking for warblers. There were so many here! 

A Yellow-Throated Warbler which we got to watch for awhile. They are a beautiful little bird! (Photo by my Dad)

Loved this view here . . . water was on the left, the grass was blowing in the breeze, beautiful tall trees stretching up to the blue sky . . . so peaceful. 

Dad and Mom looking at . . . more warblers :) Plus a nest of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers! A teeny tiny little bird . . . with quite the small nest, too.

It was here that we also saw a Bald Eagle fly down to the ground (just a ways back from where Dad and Mom are standing in the photo) and then pick up nesting material in its feet before flying off. It was amazing! Too bad we didn't have our cameras ready! 

Mom and I

Looking towards the bluffs with Blue Winged Teal down in the little pool of water 

Me out walking . . . I loved so much time to just walk and enjoy the beauty all around! 

. . . and take photos :) 

Not terribly long after this (and the location isn't in the photo), I heard a noise in the brush/weeds next to me which I could tell was from a fairly large animal. Venturing closer, out burst a female turkey just a few feet in front of me! That was really neat to see!

It was so fun watching this cute little guy! (A muskrat) Here he was hunting for things to eat. (Photo by my Dad.)

A lone Canada Goose 

Leah scanning the huge numbers of shorebirds that were way out there 

A lovely path along the trees just waiting to be enjoyed . . . I obliged :) 

. . . and eventually could see the river through the trees! 

Before long, I came to a path which wound back to the river . . . I love water and just watching it flow and listening to the sound of it!

The mighty, muddy Missouri River

Up where I was standing high on the bank there was SO much sand . . . evidence of flooding that has taken place in the past. 

 Leah, Dad and Mom watching birds and enjoying the view

How beautiful is God's creation! And how magnificent is the God who created it. 

A little turtle crossing the road 

And right close by was this frog just sitting there

Canada Geese not so sure about us and walking further away 

Rain clouds rolling in 

With it well after lunchtime, we drove home to unload everything and then went into town to have dinner at Chick-fil-a. Then back home for gifts followed by apple pie and ice cream. :) 

It was a very much enjoyed and special day together!

Friday, April 22, 2016

At the Nursing Home (plus two Hymns)

One day last week, with the bag of music books in my hand, I stepped through the door of the nursing home into the very familiar hallway, and made my way to a dear friend's room. (I always go see her first to let her know I'm there.) 

We went back down the hall together to the dining area and piano, her in her wheelchair, and me walking slowly alongside, visiting as we went. She's 98 years young and always brightens my day whenever I spend time with her. Wish you all could spend some time with her, too. :) She is a special and fun lady!

What followed was a wonderful time of playing the piano, singing, and visiting with the residents as they came up to listen, talk, or sing along. As I sang the old, beautiful, and familiar hymns and talked with them about the Savior Jesus Christ, my own heart was being touched and encouraged and tears came to my eyes a few times. Especially when hearing their voices singing along!

One dear lady whom I hadn't seen in so long, came to join us, and her voice rang out clearly as she sang, her face and eyes all alight with joy. You couldn't help but smile when looking at her shining face! It was so good to see her again.

About an hour later, I finished with the music and had an enjoyable time visiting with a number of special friends there . . . and getting lots of hugs. :)

One lady I have slowly been developing a friendship with and had seen her in Walmart awhile back (she was with the Activity Director.) When we talked then, she told me how much she was looking forward to me coming back and gave me her first hug then. Then she gave another big one when seeing her again last week!

Another sweet friend has thankfully gotten well enough to go home . . . I am so glad for her, but it isn't quite the same without her there, and she has been missed. Though a week ago this past Sunday, who should call me on my phone, but her? She said that she had been thinking of me so called just to let me know that I was on her heart and that she was praying for me. It was perfect timing. :) We ended up having a lovely conversation about trusting the Lord, His goodness to us, and more.

How much I have grown to love these people! They have welcomed me right into their hearts with love . . . and their joy, their sweet hearts, and their friendship mean so much.

And it won't be long before I'll be going back again!

On a slightly different note, since this post includes about hymns :), I thought I would share two that are on Hymns That Are Important To Us by Joey+Rory (who I shared some about in my last post) . . . these are two of my favorites on this CD . . . .

(while this is often considered a "children's song", I love the words! Especially the 2nd and 3rd verses . . . plus it's so sweet to see their precious little daughter join them on stage. :) 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


As I type, thunder is rumbling across the sky and the sound of rain is on the roof as spring storms roll through . . . pleasant sounds this time of year! Meanwhile, I thought I would share a few photos from the last few days . . . .

An afghan I have been crocheting since last summer, and it is nearly done! Though it is going to be set aside for a bit as I have another project to do . . . one of the young couples in our home church is having their first baby (a boy!) so there is something special I'll be working on for him. :)

Sunday afternoon in the sunshine with my Lord and His Word 

For Arbor Day, at one of the farmers markets, there were free trees being given away (I think by the city) . . . and what should they have but Elderberries! I was thrilled to see that! 

These grow natively here, and their berries are amazing for their medicinal properties. Last year I went looking for some on our property as I would love to utilize them, but didn't find any. But thanks to the tree giveaway, now we have three planted! Plus three Chokeberry trees that we got as well which can be made into jams and jellies and things like that. Leah and I had fun planting them together, and hopefully they'll grow and produce well!

One of the Chokeberries

This Monday was my Dad's birthday (and a post about the fun birthday outing we had will be coming), and on Sunday, our home church surprised him and made it extra special for him. One of the young women used to work as a pastry chef and makes beautiful cakes and made this one for my Dad.

And notice the reversed candles? One of the men got those and did that as a joke for my Dad!

We had healthy food, too. :) Plus pork steaks and hotdogs that a couple of the men grilled, a fruit salad, and baked beans. It was a special meal! Followed by such an encouraging time of fellowship and teaching. So thankful for our church family!

Had a 2.1 mile run today . . . felt so good!

Several weeks ago, I visited the blog of Rory Feek (I had heard about him and his wife briefly, but didn't know much about them.) I began reading . . . and then ended up starting at the beginning and reading all the way through their beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring, and encouraging story.

Joey (Rory's wife) had a valiant battle with cancer through which her faith in God was so strong . . . though she lost that battle in March and went home to be with her Savior. As I read through their blog, there were times that I cried, times that I smiled, times that my heart was convicted by their strong faith. Even though she is no longer here on earth, her example and faith through a journey so very hard was, and continues to be, an inspiration and encouragement.

And then when I saw that they had produced a hymn CD (which was recorded while she was sick) and listened to a few music clips, I ordered it as well as another they had done called "Inspired."

I have listened to these CD's and sang along with them so many times, and how they have helped to uplift and encourage! Here is one of their songs which is my (and Leah's) current favorite, and one I have been singing a lot . . . . hope you enjoy and are blessed by it, too . . . .