{rainy thoughts}

Rain.

Rain everywhere.

Gently tapping on the rooftop and bouncing off of each branch and leaf on the tall and stately trees in my front yard.

Pouring down the rain spout and spreading across the lawn, bringing a delightful hue of green we haven’t observed in weeks…

Washing the pollen and dust off of the roses and bringing with it the delightful smell of a good rainfall….there’s nothing like it. =]

It’s been raining off-and-on for days now, a rarity for my beloved Sunny South in August. The relief from the heat has been a blessing, and we’ve been able to open our windows quite a bit to let in some fresh air.

It’s making me ever more excited for the arrival of autumn, with all of it’s delights and wonders. Our home was a bit cooler this morning, so I stayed in bed much longer than usual just enjoying the warmth of the covers and the delay of the sun coming up.

I also dressed in layers and enjoyed a warm mug of coffee…it’s just been an all-around “lazy” day for me. I think I’m just tired, so I’m blaming it on the rain and the instant sense of calm that it brings into my life. I actually fell asleep working today. Probably not the best thing. =]

The rain is also putting me in a rather contemplatively-creative writing mood…y’all watch out! =D I’m hoping to catch the blog up a bit soon. We’ve had quite a bit going on around here lately!

Many blessings to each of you on this beautiful rainy day the Lord has made.

~Miss Court

Still here!

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I can’t even believe how long it has taken for me to update this little corner of the web. Life’s been oh so busy, but so very good. I am thankful for the Lord’s continued patience with me as He’s been teaching me to trust Him more fully with each passing day.

Each and every day has been a new adventure all it’s own!

I’m sitting right now in the waiting room at a local hospital waiting on my first little nephew to arrive. It’s hard to believe that my brother is grown and married and having a baby dear of his own. I still remember running around the yard fighting with lightsabers and filming our own movies and playing Legos and perfecting paper airplanes….later on, sipping coffee together in the mornings before we each started our respective jobs for the day while chatting about the latest happenings or interesting tidbits.

The rest of us have been busy with general life and “happenin’s” here at the Lambert Estate. =]

My parents went out-of-town fairly recently, and I decided it would be fun to go and participate in “Cow Appreciation Day” for the first time with the sibs. We enjoyed ourselves immensely! A few of Matthew and Jessica’s friends came along as well, which meant that with the extra help, we were able to go and actually eat inside of the Chick-fil-a. I was planning on everyone grabbing their meals and us heading back out. I also want to give a “shout out” to Regions Bank. Thank you for being the best bank ever (not biased here, being a Regions user), and also for the use of the parking spot in your parking lot. It was a wonderful thing to be able to park the big van in your parking lot rather than trying to maneuver the van around the already-crowded Chick-fil-a parking lot. It was so great! =]

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What else has been happening lately?

I broke down and purchased my first pair of Converse fairly recently. I have absolutely loved them! I’ve got another pair on the way (high tops this time!) that is supposed to be here in the next couple of days. They’ve become the subjects of several recent photos:

blog6 blog7 blog8I love Converse, I love coffee. It all works out. =D

I’ve been doing a little painting in several varieties. Wall painting, trim painting, picture painting, spray painting…I’m sporting paint “tattoos” more often than not, LOL! =]

Here’s a watercolor project I’m working on at present- it still needs quite a bit of shading and additional colors, but it’s getting there.

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I spray-painted stars on our back lawn for our 4th of July celebration:

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…and stars fell on Alabama, last night…
The ole’ music stage got a makeover:

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and this cornhole board got built from scrap wood:

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I’m trying to decide what I want to build next. :) I’m always looking for a good excuse to use the power tools….*evil laugh*

There’s been a bit of time for some sewing projects as well…this little bunny is for my new little nephew:

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I’m really tickled with how it turned out. :)

I’ve had the opportunity to study under a new strings “teacher” for a while now (a good friend of mine and fellow music-fanatic), so I’ve been busy working on various strings techniques and songs, in addition to trying a few new instruments. It has been so much fun, and a huge learning experience for me. We’ve been playing different pieces and scales together, and it’s been really awesome to hear what the different harmonies and such sound like when played together. I typically get up and practice first thing in the morning, so I’ve been grabbing a lot of early morning instrument shots. I have loved playing with the sunrise light, fog, and whatnot while grabbing pics. I know, I’m weird. =]

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I’m going to go ahead and wrap this up for the moment. I’ll try to post a little more soon! I’ve been accumulating pictures for a while now, so there’s quite a few still to go! =] I’ll end with this random photo of a local carnival. I didn’t attend, but was with another photographer friend of mine and we decided to grab a few shots. =D

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A very blessed day to you, friends-o-mine! =]

~Court

Good to Me

There are some weeks when I am utterly overwhelmed with thankfulness at all of the many blessings the Lord pours out over me.

Each day here lately seems to bring one unexpected blessing after another. The past couple of weeks have been very busy and long for me, but the Lord has been gracious to see me through and send some (as friend put it last night) amazing “hugs from God”.

Here’s one example. =]

I had written to a dear friend to ask for her to be praying over a situation I have been working through, and it was mentioned in the email that I was on the lookout for a decent banjo and a piano accordion (a 120 bass if possible!). I had been praying that the Lord would bring a good deal on the accordion especially, because when I was looking online, an accordion was not in my current price range. It is something that I had hoped to play for quite some time, but figured I would be waiting for a while to find one in good condition that fit the budget.

She emailed me back and said that she had an accordion in the closet they were looking to get rid of, and that she would bring it to church the next day for me to look at and see if I liked it.

I was absolutely shocked and amazed….and didn’t really sleep that night because I was **so** very excited. =]

When we opened it up there at church, I was amazed again- it was the very type of accordion I had been hoping to purchase, and it was absolutely gorgeous!

When we got home from church, you can guess what I started playing with right away…

Meet Stella:

Thought I’ve seen and heard an accordion being played and routinely listen to accordion polka music, I had no clue where to start. I got online and did a little research, and then I was able to start figuring out how to play VERY BASIC songs, mostly by ear. Thank you to whoever decided that the “C” button should be indented to help figure out where you are on the left side of the accordion. You are awesome.

Here’s a couple of clips (sorry in advance…just starting out here. :)):

(Make sure you click the video again to pause it after watching, otherwise, Instagram will have it playing in a loop.)

Learning around working today. :) This is going to be so much fun.

A video posted by ♪♫ Court ♫♪ – "The Awesome" (@courtneyrlambert) on

Figuring out "It's A Small World". :)

A video posted by ♪♫ Court ♫♪ – "The Awesome" (@courtneyrlambert) on

I can’t wait to start really learning the fingering patterns for the left hand side. I think this is going to be a grand adventure, and I am so excited to finally be getting started! =]


late-night practice session….learning the chicken dance. Thank you, YouTube. =])

As Time Goes By

Just taking a quick break from some ceiling repair to ask: How’s life been for all of you?

We’ve been busy, but are doing well. God is gracious, and life is good. =]

It’s tricky to figure out where to pick up here on the ole’ blog, seeing as how so much life happens in between each post! I decided to look through recent pictures and blog from those.

We were so excited that the Wissmann Family was able to come and play at our church again this year. The fellowship is always wonderful and the music is fantastic! Here are a few snapshots from the event:

I was so excited recently to be asked to help photograph the wedding of two dear friends. In many ways, they are like adopted siblings to our family. It was such a blessing to help capture their special day! Here are a few of my favorites:

We had several friends come and stay with us over the wedding week, and we took some of them up to do some good old-fashioned sightseeing in Birmingham before they went home.

Here are some photos I snapped at Vulcan Park. I think Vulcan is one of my favorite places ever. The view is incredible. Absolutely incredible. I love the view. I love how close it seems to the sky. I love climbing all of the stairs to get to the top…did I mention that Vulcan is one of my favorite places ever?

Hmm…what else have we been up to?

Music….music….music….my life seems to be wonderfully filled to the brim with it lately!

I have formed an online orchestra- the Super Symphonia! You can visit the homepage here to learn more. It has been so exciting to have the registrations start coming in! I would love to have you join us if you are interested. There is ALWAYS room for one more! :)

I’m working on the next piece to play with the folks at church…we’ve decided on “Tell Me the Story of Jesus”. It really seems to be lending itself well to being played on stringed instruments. I am really loving this whole playing-in-an-ensemble thing. It has been so very lovely! I’m hoping that it is a blessing to the folks at church and that we don’t sound super-squeaky. 😀 I’m hoping to have pics/video to share soon.

Other than that, a dear friend of mine suggested that I join another local orchestra who was looking for folks to sing in their community chorale group. I went to the first practice a couple of days ago, and it would seem that we will be singing the pieces in Russian.

I don’t know any Russian.

This is promising to be a very good kind of interesting.

If I don’t get kicked out.

I have also really enjoyed this whole singing-with-choral-groups-thing. I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience of singing together with other music enthusiasts! I wasn’t expecting to be singing in Russian, but the director spent quite a bit of time helping folks through the pronunciations, so it shouldn’t be *too* difficult. I suppose we’ll see!

Amongst the latest driving adventures, I took two siblings and myself up to see a movie that many, many friends of ours helped with: Beyond the Mask! We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and are looking forward to seeing it again in the future, Lord willing. :) It was really neat to see familiar names in the credits, and even more fun for me (but not fun for Jessica, because I kept poking her and whispering “I was standing there!” or “I was in that room!!”) was recognizing a few places I had seen or visited while on a trip north a couple of years ago. It was TOTALLY awesome! Going to see it was quite the adventure….it was pouring rain and was being shown at a theatre in one of the most crowded shopping districts in the area. I was really glad to get there and back safely!

I’ve also been doing a little experimenting in the bread baking department. I’m pretty thrilled with how it has been turning out!

The season is changing around the Lambert Estate. Here’s a few snapshots of the changing landscapes now that spring is upon us!

And in the meantime, we’ve had a lot of little things going on.

I finished up my latest Coursera course: “Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Veterinarian”. =] I’m pretty thrilled.

I’m still working:

And stealing Dad’s hat:

And having fun playing jokes on my siblings:

God is good. He is always working in thousands of ways we can’t see or fathom. I’m thankful for His leading in my life as I continue to explore the path He has placed before me. It’s always interesting to see what sort of twists and turns pop up as I go!

So for now, my friends, I will say “until later”. :) More to come soon! There’s still quite a few pictures I haven’t made it through yet. =]

{a dream came true}

Going into the latter half of last year, it seemed like the Lord was really providing some amazing opportunities for growth in my own life. I am so thankful for the many learning experiences that have come my way as some of those “doors of opportunity” began to swing wide open!


{have instruments, will travel}

I guess you could say that music has been a primary focus over the past few months.

One of the opportunities that presented itself this past year was the opportunity to be a part of a string trio with two girls who attend my church. It has been so much fun to visit with these girls while we practice, put sheet music together, and work on the arrangements. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get experience playing with other musicians, as it rarely occurs. We’re working on a couple of different pieces right now- perhaps, if I get brave enough, I’ll capture some video for the blog. =]

Fast-forward a bit…

It was late October, and I was scrolling down my Facebook news feed. I noticed a post from a local community chorale…. they were looking for additional folks to come and sing Handel’s “Messiah” with them for the upcoming holiday season.

The first practice was 3 days away from when I saw the post.

I casually mentioned to my mom that it was something I was very much interested in, and that I wanted to sing with them next year (2015) if our schedule would allow it.

She asked why I wasn’t singing THIS year (2014).

Honestly, I think I was scared of the unknown. I was scared to jump into something new, even though I thought it would be a lot of fun- not to mention, singing with an adult choir has been on my bucket list for years and years.

I decided to jump in.

I filled out my registration form about 10 minutes after the conversation with Mama, so sure that they would be full or that they didn’t need another alto, or much less, a woman singing tenor (my vocal range is looooowww). I received an email the next day from the director, and she let me know all about the details, where they were having the practices, what I needed to bring, etc.

I WAS ACTUALLY DOING THIS.

I don’t think I realized it was really happening until I picked up my name badge and book by the door leading into the choir room.

And thus began my time with the Alabama Civic Chorale.
=]

We practiced each week at this beautiful church:

To get there on time, I had to leave my church right when the service ended and drive 40 minutes, hoping all the way there that I wouldn’t run into unusual traffic and be late!

We did a few mini-performances before the “big” production.

The first was at a charity day being held at the mall:

Then, we had a few spots on local television:

Finally, it was time for the full performance.

The dress code (for women) was all black, with pearls. They mentioned specifically that there needed to be longer sleeves on the dresses/shirts. I had a black dress already that my grandmother had purchased for me the year before she died. I had yet to wear it because it was REALLY big on me, and the sleeves that were on it originally made the dress look very much outdated. Mama helped me and we did the alterations…finishing the day before the performance. =]

Sent this pic to a friend just after getting it finished

Ready to go!

I don’t have any pictures from the performance. I was a little tied up. ;]

I did take this one just before it was time to line up – pre-singing selfie!

(The programs)

It was an amazing experience. I’m not really even sure how to describe all of the thoughts and feelings running through my head during this special time. Above all, I am so thankful that I was able to have the opportunity to minister to so many people- I love how the “Messiah” consists literally of scripture that has been set to music… there are many people who won’t read the Bible, but do go to see this. What a way to feed them scripture, and perhaps, plant seeds of reformation in their hearts.

Our director announced about midway through our practices that we would be joining the Alabama Winds for a special Christmas concert…. at the historic Alabama Theatre.

This was incredible to me.

Also on my bucket list? Visiting the Alabama Theatre for a show, and getting to hear a live orchestra performance.

I never dreamed I would actually be in the show that I would be watching at the Alabama Theatre. Once again, this was a dream come true in the most unexpected of ways.

The Alabama Civic Chorale met up before the performance at a historic church in Birmingham.

Sunset outside of the church

Getting ready

These are all of the theatre:

The many cords and cables that make things work backstage

Looking out from the stage at the close of the performance

Afterwards. =]

They have begun to post some videos from that performance. Here is the “Hallelujah Chorus”:

And just because it was amazing to hear performed in person,”Sleigh Ride”:

Just before it was time for everything to get started, we knew of one family (dear friends of ours) who was planning to attend that evening. They came and brought several other families with them- so many people, in fact, that it filled up quite a large section down where everyone was sitting. It was a huge surprise! It was so nice to look out and see many familiar faces in the crowd. =]

I’m *so* very thankful for this particular opportunity the Lord brought into my life, and I can’t wait until the next season begins!

hello stranger

(This is me, with our beloved “Snow Beast”. =])

It is hard to believe that I have just said “farewell” to my 22nd year here on earth. In so many ways, this last year has literally flown by! The last few months have been especially wonderful for me, and they have been a time of growing and learning and changing and doing.

I was rather anxious for a fresh start after the year-before-last and all of the things that were happening at once. The new year couldn’t get here fast enough! The Lord has been so very good to us and allowed us a year that for the most part, has been smooth sailing. We’ve been busy, to be sure, but it has still been very peaceful. It has been a blessing as we have been still trying to heal and move forward in our lives.

I’m going to try and get the ole’ blog updated now, so stay tuned! =]

{take me home, country roads}

The Lord has continued to be gracious in bringing new opportunities to learn and grow over this year. My latest adventure? Driving to Georgia to meet my penpal and her family at her wedding! 😀

Originally, Mom and I were going to drive over there, but plans needed to change for a few things. Long story short, Matthew and I made the drive instead!

Before setting out, I took a look at the possible route scenarios and decided on the one that would take us south of Atlanta rather than through it, especially since I hadn’t yet driven in a state other than Alabama, and I’ve heard lots of stories about GA driving. :S

It told me it would take just over 4 hours to get there. Sounds good to me!

Meet Dale.

Dale was found the night before we left in a bag of misc. dollhouse furniture that Mama had purchased. When I saw him, I thought it might be fun to take a picture with Dale everywhere we stopped. :)


Up early to get everything together!


First things first. Getting the maps together and setting up the GPS!

Next, we went to Walmart to grab some snacks and lunch supplies, and then we topped off the air in the tires. Let’s do this thing!

I have no photos between this and actually attending the ceremony, because it took longer than the GPS said and there really wasn’t anywhere to stop to grab a good picture. We stopped at a gas station to change clothes once we made it to Perry, but we were in such a hurry to make it to the church on time that I didn’t take a picture. :(


Waiting on the ceremony to start


Dale on Main Street!

This was the beautiful church where they got married. It was so lovely!


Dale visits the church!


Dale arrives at the bride’s home!

These are all photos from the reception. I truly think this was the *most* beautiful and touching wedding I have ever been to! I am so thankful that I was able to attend! It was a wonderful blessing in so many ways.

This photo is of another one of my online friends, Julia!! :) We’ve written back and forth online for a while now, so it was *so* very exciting to find out that she would be one of McKenzie’s bridesmaids and that we would be able to meet in person!! :) We decided that we are definitely going to have to get together sometime so that we can just sit and chat. It was an absolute delight to meet her!

This next photo is of my penpal McKenzie, her new husband Daniel, and myself. It is still so surreal that I have finally met her in person!! We’ve been writing back and forth through the mail and online for years and years. She has been such a wonderful friend. I actually think of us more as long-distance sisters instead of just penpals! 😀 She has been right there for me during the good times and the more difficult ones. Our two families have been through several similar difficult situations around the same times, and the Lord has used her and her family to be a major encouragement to my family and I. I am so thankful that the Lord chose to bring her into my life those many years ago! It has been fun to essentially grow up together. We were mere babies when we started writing back and forth. 😉 I am so very thankful that the Lord provided this opportunity to meet her and her sweet family!

After a while, it was time to leave. Matthew and I had to make the trek back to the Lambert Estate.

While driving down, I realized that we were in huge stretches with absolutely 0% cell coverage, with really nowhere to pull off and stop for help if we ran into trouble. A lot of it was just rolling cotton fields and forest land, which was incredibly beautiful, but I didn’t really want to go that way in the dark. :s After thinking about it during the ceremony and reception, I decided to go with the original Google maps suggested route, which went right through Atlanta.

So, we got back on the road and stopped at my beloved Pilot truck stop for a quick clothing change, gas tank refill and coffee stop.


Dale pumps gas!

After that, we got settled in, popped in a “The Afters” album and made our way up to Atlanta. I knew that once we were successfully back on I-20, I wouldn’t need the GPS anymore, and that I would know exactly which interstates to get on to get back home. With that in mind, I began to pray for peace and that the Lord would keep His hand on us as we made our way into and out of Atlanta. I’m very thankful for the GPS- it told me exactly which lane to get into to make the transfer out of the 6 possible lanes that were available. I can see that it would have gotten somewhat confusing for this backroads country driving gal without it. 😀

Once we made the transfer to I-20, I decided that the next stop would be at the state line, which is precisely what we did. I hopped out and was trying to grab a picture of Dale with this teeny tiny little Alabama sign, and the ranger on call walked over and told me about a much larger sign in front of the actual rest stop building. Hurray!


Dale in front of the “Sweet Home Alabama” sign!


Dale grabs an Alabama state map!

We had a very uneventful and pleasant journey back to our house from there. Traffic was flowing quite nicely and it was fun to pick out familiar landmarks in the dark!


Dale makes it home safe and sound!

We made it back home around 11:30 that night, and I was finally in bed by about 12:30 pm.

I didn’t actually get to sleep until around 2:30 though. I was too excited and wound up! 😀

I thoroughly enjoyed making the trip with Matthew. We had so much fun talking and laughing and just enjoying the day. I can’t wait for our next adventure! :)

God is so good. It is still surreal to think back and realize that we did make this trip, we did meet all of those wonderful people and we did make it back safe and sound after our marvelous adventure!!

{life happenings}

And thus, life continues to roll on at the Lambert Estate.

I’ve still been spending a lot of time with Stanley. I’m not sure if my love of the deep and melancholy notes will ever go away. I always feel much more “cool” with the cello in my hand than I do without the cello in my hand. I guess it’s because it’s so big. Who knows.

What else have we been up to? Well, we painted the church eating area about a month ago. I posted the following picture and caption on my Instagram stream. 😀

So we went to church this morning and immediately following the fellowship meal we changed into painting clothes and started painting our church eating area and everyone was pitching in and doing their thing and I was painting like a boss until I stepped backwards into a pan of paint and it got all over my pants and shoes so I had to take my shoes off and paint in my socks and then my socks were stuck to my feet because there was paint on them too and then we kept painting and taping and painting and taping and painting and taping and then we were cleaning up and so I was finally able to pull my socks off of my feet and then I drove home barefoot in the big van with the radio going full blast and that is why I call myself the Awesome Courtney Lambert and you now know the story behind the name.

It was a lot of fun, and it looks SO much better now than it did.

Oh, we made fried green tomatoes!!! We hadn’t had them in a very long time, and the last time I actually had them, they were terrible. Never count on a restaurant to do something that is best done by the southern cook at home in their own kitchen. 😉

There have been to-do lists made and worked on:

Laundry washed

Sunrises admired

And then there was Ultimate Frisbee. Well, let me back up. We recently came back in contact with a friend of Daddy’s that he grew up with. As it would turn out, as the Lord has worked in both of our families, we’ve become incredibly like-minded and had no idea! We’ve actually been to many of the same social events over the past couple of years and didn’t realize who they were or how our families were connected. Recently, they were at an event held by some other friends of ours and put two-and-two together. Since then, our families have been enjoying getting to know each other better and have thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship. God is so good!!

Their family invited our family and some other like-minded folks out to a local park one recent Sunday afternoon. And that, my friends, is how I ended up playing Ultimate Frisbee for the first time. I’m still not exactly sure what we were doing, but I figured that as long as I ran with my team in the direction that they were going, I couldn’t really mess anything up. I’m not particularly good with sports or outdoor competitive games, but it was actually a lot of fun! The next few pictures were taken by another friend who was there.

Yep. I’ve totally got this. Not.

:)

I’ve been able to get some more trailer-hauling experience lately as well. These photos are from our most recent dump haul. We’re still working on getting construction debris and leftover junk from the previous owners out of our driveway. It’s a slow process, but I am very thankful for the hauling experience. You never know when that might come in handy!

Last week, we were able to visit the zoo one last time before our passes expired. It was so much fun!


packing the coffee – love using mason jars for this!


Go to the zoo to see animals- have your picture taken by a minion!! I love minions. :)

Mama and Daddy actually brought me this folder from one of their more recent shopping trips. Isn’t it cute?? 😀

Well, I think that’s all for this particular post. Stay tuned for the next post about getting to meet two of my sweet friends in person and about driving across the state line for the first time! 😀

{adventures in art class}

Just a little peek at art class…

Every Friday, we attend an art class held at the little library down the street from us. Our art teacher, Mr. Elam, always brings a smile and a very quick sense of humor to class with him. Each week is truly a new adventure!

These days, he has been working with me to learn how to do watercolor paintings. The pictures above show progressions of a couple of different ones. The one pictured below is the most recent one that I have completed:

He has been teaching me to use many of the art supplies that my grandmother used. It has been amazing to think about how she used to paint with the various paints and brushes that I am using now. In many ways, it makes me feel closer to her. <3