Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dad's Birthday!

Fond Memory:  When the three of us girls were little, Dad worked shift work.  On many occasions when Dad couldn't be there to personally tell us goodnight or good morning, he would leave little sticky notes on the wall beside our beds with a little personal note for each one of us.  When we'd awake in the morning, it was always so special to find a little letter from Dad!  We have saved our little notes in our keepsake boxes and enjoy going back to read them.

Funny Moment: For Dad's 30th birthday Mom was going to throw a surprise party for him.  So she asked my cousin to take him shopping for one hour, let everyone arrive, and then bring him back.  Well...the designated time came and went, everyone was already at the party waiting for the birthday boy, who was nowhere to be found.  My Mom finally got ahold of my cousin and asked him where he was at.  My cousin replied that he couldn't get Dad to come home because Dad was having a good time out shopping.  Mom said,"Well, think of something, but get him home quick!  We're all waiting!"  My cousin eventually thought of an idea to get Dad to head home.  He arrived home very surprised to find a party waiting for him!


Dad and Jordan

Happy birthday Dad!  We hope and pray that this year brings you many blessings, more than you can count!  We love you and are so thankful for you.  You lead our family well and we are so glad that you are our father!  You keep a smile on all of our faces and you never run out of new things to try and do.  Praising the Lord for you!
Love ya lots!

Joshua 24:15b
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Decisions for the Future we've had a lot of people wondering where Matthew and I are at in the relationship.  If you're one of those slightly curious people or one of those REALLY curious people, then this post is for you!

Many of you have been sending encouraging comments, saying that you are enjoying keeping up with the blog.  I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading our story thus far.  Trust me.  I'm enjoying it too!  Immensely!

I recently had a reader ask me what "type" of person both Matthew and I are, so I thought I'd address it in this post.  It'll give you all a better glimpse into who we are. *smile*
(For those of you that have never read Debi Pearl's book Created to Be a Help Meet, she divides men into three groups: the Command Men, the Steady Men, and the Visionary Men.  She also divides women into three groups: The Go-To-Gals, The Servants, and the Dreamers.)

As for me, I guess I'd say I'm pretty much a servant with enough go-to-gal to be able to take the lead and get things done when I need to.  My sisters have sort of always looked to me as the "bold one" shall I say.  Before meeting Matthew, I would've said that I didn't have much dreamer in me, but he's brought out a lot more of that lately. *wink*  He encourages me to dream of the future, and make plans (because "you'll never go anywhere if you don't make a plan on where you want to go") and try new things.  

Matthew is definitely a visionary.  But just as Ms. Debi Pearl says that every man has a little bit of all three, his command man comes out occasionally when no one else will take charge.  He can organize everyone and get things running smoothly.  And, he is steady enough to work at his brother's landscape business for the past 9 years. *smile*
This post will give you a glimpse into his visionary side.


While Matthew was in Florida, he did a lot of thinking and praying about his future and what the Lord would have him do with his life.
As most of you all know, he currently lives in Dayton, Ohio.  He works as foreman for his brother's lawn and landscape business.  He is also the 2012 National Hammered Dulcimer champion.  So he enjoys playing his dulcimer and selling Cd's on the side at events and gigs that he gets.  His real passion would be to further his music career, and after much prayer he feels like the Lord is leading in that direction and blessing his endeavors.  During his stay with us, he played several times at the Farmer's Markets we attend on Saturday in Columbia.  Not only did he make money on tips, but he was able to sell some Cd's and a lot of people stopped to listen and ask questions about the dulcimer.  He ended up landing a few gigs while he was here as well!  

The Lord has blessed him immensely with his ability to play well, and not only on the dulcimer.  He is also very good on the penny whistle, guitar, and violin, and has picked up a few other instruments as well!  All in all, the Lord has given him the gift of music, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste instead of using it for His glory.  He just had to figure out how and where to do that.

While in Florida, he also did some research as to which cities in the East are the best for musicians (Dayton, Ohio is not known for promoting music).  Greenville, SC really piqued his interest, for many different reasons: it is close to Asheville, NC (good musician town), it has easy access to the mountains (Greenville is in the foothills), it's a beautiful city with a good homeschooling influence, it's a good place to get gigs, and the best part about's close to Aiken!!!

We sat down together while he was here and discussed our future, the possibility of him moving, mulled over the possible cities, went over budgets and how much he would have to be making with his music to be able to make a go of it, what other ways he could supplement his income while the music business was building, etc.  Since he is already trained in the landscape business, if he could get some lawn jobs that would help him have a steady income right off the bat.  He would also like to start giving music lessons.

After doing a lot of talking and figuring, he decided that the best way to find out which cities would be the best for musicians would be to talk to the people of the town.  We talked to people in Augusta, GA one afternoon, hitting music shops and asking about venues to play in, and just generally finding out what the music culture was like in each city.  We also traveled around Aiken and asked the same type of questions, as well as Columbia.  We also decided that if Greenville was a possibility that we should probably take a trip up there to see what it had to offer.

The next sunny day that we had available, we took Ethan as our chaperone and made a day trip up to check out Greenville, SC, about a 2 hour drive from Aiken.  We left right after milking and my family took up the slack for us and let us take off milking in the evening so that we didn't have to rush back.  We spent the whole day touring Greenville and the surrounding area, asking our list of questions to various music shops and locals, as well as talking with landscape supply stores.
In a local Greenville park.

Both of us really like the mountains and what they have to offer...rivers, hiking, kayaking, skiing, cooler summers with less humidity.  So it was really nice driving around Greenville being right in the foothills with the mountains in view!

After grabbing a bite to eat in downtown Greenville at a nice little Italian restaurant, we headed over to a local bike shop and rented three bikes for the afternoon.  There is a very nice bike trail, called Swamp Rabbit Trail, that runs straight through downtown Greenville and stretches for almost 20 miles.

We stopped to take a few photos on a very picturesque bridge!

Having fun!

Ethan...holding up the bridge!

Best Friends!

Matthew and I, with our chaperone!  Ethan really enjoyed the day as well, especially the bike ride!

We ended up all the way to Furman University.
We biked around the campus for a little while, stopping and taking pictures here and there...

The old bell tower...

In front of the pond...

ready to head back to Greenville....

We ended up biking about 13 miles that day, and had a lot of fun doing so!  We are looking forward to being able to do it again sometime.  

We have some dear friends who live right outside of Greenville, and they kindly invited us for dinner, so we headed down to their house and spent a few hours visiting with them, asking them some questions about Greenville and the churches in the area.  We had a wonderful time with them, and then hit the road so that we could be back home by 10:00.  
It was a wonderful day, filled with lots of good memories and we are both very glad that we made the trip up there!

All in all, after talking with several people and visiting the four cities close by, Greenville definitely sounds like it is the place for musicians.  It was everything he had heard about it and then some!  

After both of us spending some time praying about it and finding the Lord's will in this decision, Matthew feels lead to move to Greenville, SC in June!!!!  He is back up in Ohio now, trying to find someone to train in his position as foreman before he leaves, and getting his stuff in order to make the move.  We have been looking online for a place for him to rent when he gets down there, as well as steadily trying to get his name out there and find places for him to play at.  So far, the Lord has been opening doors, which was what we were praying for.  The Lord can open doors that no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open, so if He's in it, then the doors will keep opening to Matthew!  Please keep him in your prayers over the next year as he says goodbye to his family, makes the move to Greenville, starts a new job, kick starts his career in music, starts giving lessons, finds a church, and locates a place to live.  A lot of changes in a short amount of time, but he's excited and I'm excited and we can't wait to see what the Lord will do through this time!

(And to add the icing to the top...once he moves to Greenville, he will be able to come down to visit even more often!)
*very, very happy*

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Valentine's Day!

February 14th was a very special day for both Matthew and I because it was our first Valentine's Day that we had a special someone to celebrate with!!!

After several gifts and surprises back and forth between us, we ended the day by going out to eat on a double date with my parents. 

Taking photos....

Group shot...

Excited to be going on a date!

Matthew decided to take me out to the Olive Garden on our lovely Valentine's Day date!  For me, this was a very special decision on his part, because when he was 16 he had made a promise to himself that he would wait to eat at the Olive Garden until he could take someone very special there.  So by taking me there for Valentine's Day, it made it that much more special!

(Happy to be together!)

Mom and I waiting out front.

My wonderful parents.  They were a lot of fun to go out on a double date with and shared some advice about relationships and marriage with us while we were eating.

Matthew and I, sharing a cheesecake.


 After dinner, Savannah, Gram, Noah and Ethan volunteered to milk for us and finish chores, so Mom, Dad, Matthew & I headed over to the river walk in Augusta, GA and enjoyed a nice stroll!  

There were swings set up over-looking the river, so we stopped for a little while to talk and swing.

Enjoying my time with my Valentine...

It was a lovely evening, one that I think we all enjoyed.  It was such a treat to be able to celebrate Valentine's Day with Matthew.  And all the little details that went into making the day extra special were very sweet!

~ ~ ~ 

A big thank you to everyone for all the birthday wishes!  It was a wonderful day! Matthew surprised me by writing up a very sweet birthday post!  He's so thoughtful.  

I'll be posting more details later about it, so stay tuned.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kelsey turns 24!!!

 Happy 24th Birthday Kelsey!!!

April 4th
 Hi everyone!  This is Matthew hacking into Kelsey's blog; cause I know she's far too modest to write about her own birthday.  ;-)

 Kelsey has grown to be a beautiful godly young woman marked by her attractive and delightful character. She has been such a blessing to know, not just as a courtship partner, but an amazing friend.
Just when I think I've met the perfect girl she somehow surprises me by being more amazing with every passing day.
Kelsey knows when to laugh, smile, cry and pray. She is very sensitive to those she's around and always there to lend a helping hand

I can't describe how happy I am to be courting you Kelsey. God has blessed me immensely in just getting to know you and I can't wait for what the future holds.
Your family and I greatly appreciate you -so much-
We're praying for you and your future.

Favorite Verse:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths
Proverbs 3:5-6

Happy birthday Kels!
Blessings! ~your Beau 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pictures from Matthew's Visit

Drum roll please!  The pictures from Matthew's visit!

When he first arrived....

Two very thrilled people to be with each other again!

Standing in the kitchen catching up with each other and getting ready to eat.

The first night he was here, there was a full moon, so Noah chaperoned us while we sat and talked on a blanket under the stars and admired the moon.

Matthew playing the Wii with my brothers.

 Dad had put together a list of odd jobs around the house that he needed done, so while Matthew was here, he accomplished most of the list.  Some of the things on the list were....

- Build 2 mineral feeders for the goats
- Fix outlet in kitchen
-Clean up computers
-Replace back door and the framing
-Cut up wood pile
-Order and replace window latches
-Replace back deck
-Help clean pools 
-Stack branches into a burn pile in field
-Replace door knob handle
-Milk with Kelsey
-Make cheese with the girls

Here he is fixing the outlet in the kitchen.  I enjoyed helping him when I could, or simply watching him work.

~ ~ ~

Every Thursday we season our cheese that we take to markets on Saturday, so Matthew jumped right in and helped us on those days, apron and hat and all!

Goofing around!

Very happy to be working with Matthew in the cheese room!

Mr. Cool...

Savannah, Matthew and Mom stirring the cheese.   Us girls always switch back and forth with stirring so that our arms don't get tired, but it became a challenge for Matthew to see how long he could stir two pots of cheese without needing help.  ;-)

The back deck...before

Taking all the boards off.

Two hard working guys!  Ethan is such a goof ball with that prybar. 

Putting the new boards down.

Dad, finishing up with caulking the back door.

Working together....

Wrapping up the cords for the day.

The finished back deck....with a new picnic table.

Milking time...this was probably my favorite time while Matthew was here.  We were able to milk together almost every morning and evening during his month stay.  It was a nice time to talk or goof around while the goats were milking.  We tried singing together, and we enjoyed writing notes on the board for each other.  We even tried to race each other to see who was the fastest at completing their job.  All in all, it was a wonderful time to just simply get to know each other.

We had a great time working together and I would be willing to help Matthew tackle any project.  He made every job enjoyable and he was a lot of fun to be around, even when he was stumped with a problem on one of the jobs.  He just kept thinking about it until he came up with a solution and then worked on it until it was finished!