Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Missouri State Fair

It has become a yearly tradition for us to spend one much enjoyed day at our State Fair. And this year, a friend was able to join us, too, so that was nice!

Watching livestock judging and different animal competitions; walking through the Home-ec, FFA, Agriculture, and other buildings; looking at the different animals that are there; eating a State Fair corndog (Leah's yearly request :); and then seeing whatever else there is to see.

The day we went this time was just beautiful . . . not too hot, though the sun was shining and a breeze was blowing. It was quite pleasant!

There were a lot of antique tractors at the fair, and it was fun looking at all of them
(Photo by Dad)

This was neat! It is a steam-powered tractor. They were starting it up here, and it was interesting seeing how it worked.

(Photo by Dad)

On our way to the Exhibition Center to see what was going on inside . . . there were lots of trailers around it so we were guessing it had something to do with livestock.
(Photo by Dad)

We were right! And it was something we had never seen before . . . herding dogs being judged on how well they could maneuver the sheep through certain gates and finally, into the pen. It was amazing to see how well-trained the dogs were! And especially how sensitive they were to the many different whistle commands.
(Photo by Dad)

A job well done!
(Photo by Dad)

Then for a demonstration, they brought four big steers into the arena and had this very well-trained dog first teach the cattle to respect him, and then he worked them all over the arena following the whistle commands of his owner. It was impressive!
(Photo by Dad)

The next demonstration was a dog herding ducks! That was a little comical to watch. :) It herded the ducks between the people's legs before herding them into their little wagon . . . .
(Photo by Dad)

It took a bit for the dog to do as one duck did NOT want to go in!
(Photo by Dad)

Next we went to the animal barns where sheep, goats, and pigs were all being judged . . . .

Ah the life of a pig . . . sleeping. Nearly all of the many pigs (over a 100?) were in the same position this one was.

Dad giving this dozing pig a head scratch. Dad used to help raise hogs on his family's farm in his growing up years so we have heard many stories of his adventures with those!

After the pigs, we detoured to the FFA (Future Farmers of America) building before moving on to the other animals . . . .

Mom looking at various items that had been entered in the fair
(Photo by Dad)

Dad and Leah having fun playing this game that was there . . . how high will your crop yields be? It just depends on how well you can avoid the government regulations, crop failures, drought, etc.!

Camera war :)

This was the one he got after I put my camera down :)
(Photo by Dad)

Looking at a tractor that an FFA member had restored

The sheep barns were next!

Making friends with the sheep 
(Photo by Dad)

All trimmed, groomed, and ready for the show ring

These were my favorite! I love black-faced sheep.

Leah attempting to make friends with this little ram . . . it didn't work. :) He was quite the wary little guy!

Watching the Boer goat judging was the next thing we did . . . 

Me off to the left watching the class of bucks being shown
(Photo by Dad)

Dad was up watching the judging from here (and the others, and eventually myself, joined him there.)

Looking at the HUGE (and expensive!) tractors that were for sale 

Dad up in one that was over $500,000 . . . we didn't get it. :)

We enjoyed one of Mom's, Leah's, and my favorite buildings next . . . the Home-ec building! So many beautiful quilts, crochet projects, baked goods, canned goods, and more . . . .

Mom and some of the quilts
(Photo by Dad)

Some of the quilts that were hanging up on display

This quilt was my favorite. I love blue and white quilts! (Or blue and white anything.) One of these days, I am finally going to make one!

Leah and I admiring the quilts that had been hand-quilted
(Photo by Dad)

So many canned goods there! Jams, jellies, pickles, vegetables, and more
(Photo by Dad)

Mom really liked this . . . an antique suitcase converted into a doll house
(Photo by Dad)

I know I say this every year, but someday, I am going to learn how to smock. Isn't this little girl's dress darling?

Leah looking at the display of antique quilts. These are always interesting to see as not only are they beautiful, but they often have the history of the quilt as part of the display as well.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has a building on the fair grounds and each year, they have displays of native fish, snakes, turtles, and frogs. It's always fun walking through there!

Mom and Leah looking at one of the aquariums
(Photo by Dad)

Me looking at the fish as well . . . at some point along here, a little girl came up to me and asked with wonder in her voice, "what is THAT?" Referring to the fish in the below photo . . . it was fun to talk with her a bit and tell her about the fish . . . . 
(Photo by Dad)

Mom and Dad watching the paddlefish. They are quite interesting looking! (And these ones are really tiny compared to how large they can get.) God put such diversity in His creation!

Leah, Mom and I looking at the produce displays in the agriculture building and trying to find the ones our friends entered (an older couple we became friends with at the smaller farmers market we used to go to.) It's always fun to see what they enter.
(Photo by Dad)

We finished out our time at the fair by going to the Floriculture building where we got some wildflower seeds, and then we headed home.

All in all, it was a wonderful day spent together at the fair!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Light in the Clouds

What an encouraging weekend this was! The conference was wonderful, and I'll have a post (or posts!) coming soon about it, but in the interim, I'll be sharing a few other ones (like our much enjoyed day at the state fair.) And these photos that were taken the other evening as a storm approached . . . .

A small flash of lightning in the clouds 

It was so neat to watch the colors and the clouds changing and then see lightning in them, too!

The heavens truly do declare the glory of God . . . a God so infinitely powerful and wise that He could create such a beautiful world (though now tainted by the effects of sin.) His creation does indeed bring praise to Him . . . it is a reflection of His "eternal power and divine nature" (Romans 1:20.)

It is a reminder of His goodness and faithfulness, that all things continue to be held together by Him.

And today, I am thanking Him for that, for His goodness and faithfulness . . . for who He is.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Berean Call Conference ~ Live Online

I sure wish we were in Bend, Oregon this week and able to be at The Berean Call Conference in-person! But since that ended up not being possible, the next best thing is being able to watch it live online.

They have an excellent line up of speakers who will be sharing on many pertinent and helpful topics such as Evangelism and being bold for Christ . . . "Days of Apostasy: Scripture's Prevention Program for Believers" . . . God's faithfulness . . . and also Calvinism, Catholicism, and the New Age and Quantum Spirituality movement.

The full schedule of speakers and the titles of their sessions can be found on The Berean Call's website here. I have heard many of these men either speak before or have read their writings, all of which have been helpful and encouraging to me both in my walk with Christ and for when talking with others about various topics.

2016 Conference - Participate Online

Anyway, I just wanted to invite you all to 'attend' the conference as well! It starts tomorrow, and you can sign up for the online conference herethough no registration is necessary (edited to add: it looks like registration is now closed, but again, you don't need to register to watch the conference.)

And you can find more information on their LiveStream page, which is where the conference will be streamed.

You can set up an account and register there, and then the times for the sessions will coincide with your local time zone. (If you can't watch the sessions live, they should be available afterward to watch, too.)

Live updates are shared on their Facebook page, too.

If you do 'attend' the live conference, be prepared to be encouraged, helped, challenged, and strengthened in your faith! I for one am sure looking forward to it. :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Leah's Birthday

Last week, we celebrated the birthday of one of the most special people in my life . . . my sister, Leah, my dearest friend. Her wisdom, love, and encouraging heart all continue to be such a blessing! These last months, I have thanked God even more for giving her to me as my sister . . . .

Leah . . . thank you so much for always being there for me - to talk with, to listen, and to give wise counsel and help, for your laughter and the sunshine you bring to our days, for all the fun times we have together, for your sincere love for the Lord and for others, for your strong faith and trust in Him, and much more. You are such a special person, and I love you so much!


Now onto what we did on her birthday :) . . . the first plan didn't work out unfortunately (going hiking) so we opted for "plan 2" and went out to a drive/walk through conservation area . . . .

It was such a beautiful day!

A native flower, Rose Mallow 

A honeybee on another native flower, Swamp Milkweed 

There was a lot of the pretty pink Swamp Milkweed blooming along the way

Waiting for a Monarch butterfly to land before slowly approaching. Can you see it fluttering around on the far left?
(photo by Leah) 

And it landed! You can't tell in the photo, but there was a drop off right at the edge of the mowed area, so I couldn't get much closer than this.
(Photo by Leah)

The photo that was captured . .. a monarch butterfly on the milkweed

And another one getting nectar from the flowers 

A Double-crested Cormorant letting me get this quick photo before it flew off

Cattails growing along the water's edge 

 A flower that I was not able to identify . . . can you see the Japanese beetles on it?

 A Great Egret just about ready to take flight

And off it goes to find a more secluded place 

A bunch of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons taking flight 

Two turkey vultures enjoying the sun while sitting in this big, dead tree 

Leah and Mom 

How I love the sound of water flowing! The sight of it wasn't as pleasant, though, as it was rather scuzzy water, but one just had to overlook that. :) 

Mom looking at a Green Heron and a Red Headed Woodpecker 

Another of the beautiful views there 

So much blue sky and white fluffy clouds! What an incredible Creator is the Lord to design such beauty 

A snake I found slithering through the rocks 

Mom watching the little minnows down in the water while Leah and Dad watch the snake

Great Egrets way out there

The tree covered bluffs in the distance