Affirming August

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged in letter form 🙂 But here goes:

To our friends scattered to and fro,

Hello from Turleytown!         {Ok, so I’m still not used to writing that. Somehow Paradise Lane sounds much more picturesque.. And I refuse to change from Mountain Musings to Turleytown Trivia- even tho that may  be more accurate…}

Life continues to speed by around here. It’s hard to imagine that we are through August without hardly getting the chopper out of the shed! We did chop a bag at the home because the silage in our trenches is disappearing like ice on a warm day-but other than that, we wait with baited breath for the flurry to begin.


Lancaster Co, PA

Along with the ringing of school bells, came the parking of my vans. I am so excited! I’ve gotten in on so many neat things this summer, but enough is enough, and I’m beside myself to be at home and return to checking the crops with my dad and spending the  day roasting in the kitchen while canning with my mom and sisters. I’m sure I’ll be ready to travel again soon, but until then… 🙂


While checking our beans, we discovered a new weed creeping into our fields: Mare’s Tail. I don’t know if it’s as serious as our friends at the local seed and fertilizer made it out to be, but they said that it’s Round-Up resistant and spreads like wild fire- 1 plant today, 100 acres next year. Somebody tracked this weed seed for 300 miles on a strong wind, and says that it is worse than Johnson’s Grass was back its day. I don’t know, but just in case, we mixed up a backpack sprayer and spent a very warm afternoon wading through shoulder high beans-spot spraying. Since then, we notice Mare’s Tail everywhere. So if all of you within a 300 mile radius would kill the weeds in the ditches by your place,etc- we should be good! 🙂


(in case you don’t know what you should be annihilating- Mare’s Tail in all it’s glory)

I thought I wasn’t going to travel at all this week, UNTIL- we got an invitation from our soybean supplier to come for a low country boil out on the Northern Neck. What a feast.  All you can eat- shrimp, crabs, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes… Unbelievable! And what a gorgeous area!




As we traveled along, my mom pulled out a quote book and this quote continues to challenge me:

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well -Martin Luther King Jr

I hope that this can be said of my life- that whatever adventure I’m called to, that I do it with all of my might for God’s glory.

Blessing on your week,


Bonus Pics:

Mother grew a 52.2 lb watermelon and it was delicious! Thanks Em for the pic 🙂


Perks of riverland, Father needed help moving the spray crew from point A to point B, so while we waited, Em and I enjoyed the coolness of Middle River. (This was before the Mare’s Tail incident, lest I leave you under the impression that we swim while Father treks back and forth with a backpack sprayer in the blazing sun 😉 )


And I’ll leave you with a few shots of the beautiful Valley…



Samson: a Hero of Faith

When you think of a Hero of Faith- who is the first person that comes to mind? Abraham, maybe? He fearlessly followed God to the end of the earth- packing up all of his household and heading into strange territory. Later, he followed God’s bizarre test to sacrifice his son- because he was a man of faith- he took God at His word.

Or maybe you think of Esther? She suddenly found herself as the balancing act between her husband-the king- and God’s people who, if she didn’t petition for them, had an unjust sentence of death.

Or- Samson. What? Samson? Mr Muscles- who’s long hair and love of ladies got him into hot water on a number of occasions- a hero of Faith? Honestly- this is not the first hero that comes to mind.


I don’t know how closely you’re following my #30for30 project…. But I’m working away at adding these different adventures into my 30th year. I’m hoping to be at #15 by November. Anyhow it’s been a lot of fun, but a lot of them have become fairly involved. I have a list I’m working off of, so I check the next adventure and start trying to make contacts to pull it off. Basically all of them require a group activity, so as has become standard, I try to rope someone into joining me, which, sometimes requires more nagging than others…. (it’s ok to feel sorry for my family. But they are tough, this isn’t too hard on them- PLUS after all these years, they are fairly used to my shenanigans ).  Then I select a date and try to execute the plan.

Last week was completely non typical. I’d put “Sight and Sound Theater” on my list, but had no plans of crossing that one off anytime soon. Until Destiny got in contact with me: a group was heading up to watch Samson, was my van available?  AND would I go along? Wow! So I marked off #12 without even harassing my fam at all! And in the process-I’m completely challenged by the life of Samson.


Judges 13 introduces Samson as the only son of a childless couple who was born with an owners manual. He was chosen to be a Nazirite (dedicated to God) and with that came a number of requirements: stay away from fermented drinks and anything dead or unclean. Don’t ever cut get a haircut.

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Samson’s first love was a Philistine woman and his parents were highly concerned about this. Understandably, they offered to find him a wife among their own God-fearing people BUT “they did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines”  Sometimes God leads us in a way that seems completely different from how He leads others.(Not saying that He asks us to live in contradiction to His Holy Word) But as long as HE is the one that’s leading-there’s peace.

Do you ever feel completely alone? After a very dramatic wedding, where Samson’s riddle caused a rift between him and his bride: forcing him to confiscate 30 sets of clothes off of the neighbors; resulting in his father-in-law giving his bride to his bestman and Samson rushing off in a rage and using foxes to burn grain fields, olive groves, and vineyards. Samson is up in the wilderness area and here comes 3,000 of his own Israelite men to  capture him and hand him over to the irate Philistines. He goes with them willingly, and in the end, He kills 1,000 men with a jawbone and is so downcast, exhausted, and thirsty, he prays “You have given your servant this great victory, must I now die of thirst…”  God answers him by opening a hollow place and water revives his strength. Sometimes it’s easy to look at life and decide that we are completely alone. It may be after a victory, or after a rejection from people who should’ve stood by you… But at the right moment- God arrives with the refreshment so desperately needed.

Do you ever feel like there’s no way that God can use what’s left of the choices you’ve made? Samson judged Israel for 20 years. His strength was impressive- like the time he carried the city gates of Gaza up onto the far hill, but no one apparently knew the source of his strength- the relationship between the Spirit of the Lord, the Nazirite promise, and his uncut hair. UNTIL Delilah betrayed his trust for no small amount of money and they cut his hair. But the story doesn’t end with the haircut and the loss of strength (and eyesight). The story ends with a subdued Samson in a temple full of idol worshiping Philistines jeering at him and his God, praising their god Dagon for Samson’s capture, when Samson finds the main pillars of the temple and with the words “Sovereign God, remember me” He pushes the temple in and kills more of the Lord’s enemies with his death, than he had in his  entire lifetime.  I love that God can redeem any situation, any circumstance, anything. All that needs to happen is to humbly ask for His intervention and allow Him to work in His way…

The pile of rubble is not where we last discover Samson. The last mention of him is listed in the Faith Chapter, Hebrews 11. As I reread this passage, I was amazed again. God promised that He would deliver and He did. But not nearly in the time-frame you would expect. e.g Abraham died confident that God would make his descendants as countless as the stars. In fact , (vs 26) These were ALL commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

Because God had promised, these people (look it up, it’s quite the list of them) embraced life, looked forward to the fulfilling of His promise, and died still believing. Confidently.

How are you doing with what God has called you to? Are you able to move forward in faith believing that this is where you are called to serve? Do you struggle with being alone and misunderstood? Do mistakes you’ve made threaten to overwhelm you?

Isn’t it wonderful that we can go to the Scripture and be reminded again and again that God in His wisdom can (and will!) work through situations and redeem them for His glory. We are called to go through life. Confident. Faithfully.


FAITH- hears the inaudible

FAITH- sees the invisible

FAITH- believes the incredible

FAITH- receives the impossible

Have FAITH in God.







Local Flair

It’s easy when you’re planning a vacation to look up all the incredible things that your perfect vacation spot has to offer. I know I do. I hit up Google. I ask people who have traveled there before. I pull up all the memories of all recommendations that I can remember… I get all excited.

And I forget all the incredible things that are in our backyard. I drive past and if I ever notice them I think “Oh yeah, sometime I should…”

Recently I visited several places that are within an hour or two from where I live.


I remember learning about Cyrus McCormick in school. My 3rd grade teacher would do a bulletin board of pictures of inventors and I would always look at Cyrus McCormick as a kindred spirit. You would’ve thought that Henry Ford for his automobile idea, or Benjamin Franklin and electricity or Mr Bell and the telephone, but no- I was mesmerized by the inventor of the reaper. It did make a huge impact on those of us in the grain farming world. What I didn’t know was that that break through happened in the Shenandoah Valley and his grist mill and black smith shop are still very much a part of the land he loved. I also didn’t know that when he had his first field day- 2 men and his reaper cut in a half day what 5 men cut in a whole day and young ecstatic McCormick offered his machine for $50… But nobody was interested


replica of the original reaper


Wades Mill was built in the 1750s and is still operating. The new owner grinds on Saturdays, but is open everyday. I’m very anxious to try his scone mix.




Humpback Bridge was built in 1857 and is over 100 feet long. The recent flood in Allegheny Co damaged the bridge and also washed over the E . (Notice that this is part of the VA LOVE project)  All floodwaters aside- this was still a wonderful picnic spot



C&O Railroad Historical Museum was also interesting. There is a wealth of info about the company and a train to explore. I discovered that I didn’t realize what the use of the caboose was- other than to be little and red and follow the train… Do you know?

And of course who can resist a ride on the lawnmower/train-tracks combo that circles the complex…


Smith Mountain Lake holds early childhood memories for me- but it’s been years (like 20?) since I spent the night there. A short trip with a group of delightful ladies reminded me that I should return more often. We had a wonderful time and didn’t even die in a thunderstorm- but it was close. 🙂


One of the families that I travel with from time to time hosts a wheat threshing day every other year.Unfortunately this time- I arrived in time to watch them finish the first load and get completely drenched-which happened in about 10 mins… It is quite the community event.

These are just a few of the more “local experiences” I’ve had recently…  I’m amazed at how easy it is to overlook these beautiful places in pursuit of something further away and more exotic- when reality is those are local and mundane for somebody (and they may be excitedly researching a trip to my area)… Isn’t that how we are? Somehow everybody else’s life and their gifts and blessings are far superior and exciting to mine…

But for today, I’m going to look at the beauty around me and in my own life and rejoice…



Bonus Pics:

Our new place has lots of birdhouses… They kinda fascinate me..



And last but not least, my mom is delighted to have a birthday buddy… One of our neighbor’s daughter’s had a boy… Dakota Blake    Emily is convinced that the deciding factor of whether a new baby is cute or not is the amount of hair it has…