{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! :D

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! :D 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. :D

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! :D

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. :D

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?? :D

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! :D

{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

{my adventure book}

(working on updating the ole blog today. ;) )

If you know me, you probably know I am a huge fan of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. I enjoyed the movie so much, that I saved my pennies and dimes and purchased the Bluray combo pack the first week it was released. :)

An added bonus to the specific Bluray combo pack that I purchased was the inclusion of a coupon for a free photobook from Shutterfly.

I knew exactly what I would be using it for.

Introducing:

My Adventure Book – Volume 1

I’m planning on this book being the first of several volumes. I really enjoyed working on the photo layouts and writing the journaling to go alongside the photographs! This first book chronicled our trip to the Creation Museum in KY, the side trip to Nashville that we made on the way home from KY, my trip to TX with Daddy, the trip to Gulf Shores that Josh and I made, the trip to the Pie Lab that I made with my sister-in-law and one of our good friends, and the trip to the Ave Maria Grotto that me and several of my siblings made.

Shutterfly did an amazing job with the actual printing, binding, colors, etc. I can’t wait to work on the next volume! :)

{barefoot blue jean days}

The long, sunny days of summer here in the Sunny South are nearly gone for the year. We’ve been blessed with an unusually cool summer, and it has made the days much more pleasant.


A panoramic view of our back yard.

Lately, I’ve been able to do a lot of the work for my job whilst sitting out on the back porch. On this particular day, I had a vintage-y Sprite in an old-fashioned glass bottle to keep me company.


(note the project that is going on the tables in the background. We always have a project or two going ’round here! =] )


I’ve been able to squeeze in lots of violin practice… and mandolin practice….and piano practice…

One of my favorite parts about it being cooler this year is that it has been actually quite pleasant to sit out on our porches. The fresh air has been absolutely wonderful!

This was a beautiful full rainbow seen late one afternoon at the very back of our property. I love rainbows. How can one doubt the existence of a wondrous Creator God when there are such lovely displays of His creative handiwork to be seen everywhere!

Last, but not least, this is our home as seen from our pasture area. I love walking down there and looking back up to see our house, especially at night when the lights are glowing in the windows. We are so very blessed. <3

{A new friend}

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a new friend of mine hanging around.

Meet Stanley, the cello:

He and I are in the process of becoming a bit better acquainted.

To this day, I’m still not sure what exactly possessed me to add him to my collection of other instruments, but I’m so glad he is here. I decided while I was working the election polls last time that I wanted to spend my poll-working money on something interesting.

Stanley is pretty interesting, in my opinion anyway.

I love listening to the mellow sounds as they pour off the strings….


The self-timer went off before I was ready, but the sun was so interesting behind the cello that I decided to keep the picture. :)

I can’t wait to learn to read the actual cello sheet music! I’m playing some by ear right now, but my cello book is supposed to be here any day. It’s thrilling to have a dream come true! Playing cello has been something I have wanted to try for a very long time. I’m so thankful that the Lord allowed me the opportunity to acquire one. :)

Haste to the wedding!

It’s hard to believe that Josh and Kylie have been married now for nearly three weeks!

Here are some of my favorite photos and moments from the rehearsal dinner and wedding day:

{rehearsal dinner}

This was our very first time to plan a rehearsal dinner, and we wanted everything to be as perfect as possible. Mama put a lot of time and effort into making all of the little details really come together! :)


Getting the car ready to load folks and stuff!


Silverware all rolled up and ready to go


The bride and groom


Preparing for dinner to start


These luminaries were one of my favorite parts of decorating!


Rehearsal dinner programs


Beverage station


Coffee bar


and creamer!


Food… glorious food

Everything went so very well. We are thankful that the Lord gave us a lot of grace and allowed us to knock out the tasks that needed to be finished with minimal issues, and we were able to clean up and get home at a reasonable time, which was nice.

Sleep was not to be had for a while though- when we got home from the rehearsal dinner, Jon’s eyeball was swollen out of the socket…. I’ve never seen anything like it! One of our dear friends was watching our littles during the rehearsal dinner, and she kept everything under control until we were home. Daddy ended up taking him to the after-hours emergency eye center, and they determined that it was most likely a bug bite. Yes, it was *ON* his eyeball. In the meantime, while they were gone, my dear grandfather (who was staying the night with us), my dearest mama, and myself had the opportunity to look through old family photos and Grandaddy was able to tell us a lot of stories and background behind each one. I’m thankful for the time spent with them, although I would have definitely preferred it not having to happen because Jon was hurt! :S By the time we got everyone settled in for the night, it was just after 1:00am. We decided to call it a night and planned to get up around 7:00 the next day.

Which would work perfectly, except that my mind was running about 300 miles a minute. When this happens, you are looking at your bed lamp and you realize that it looks a little bit like Pacman.

(Yes, you can question my sanity.) :)

{wedding day}

And thus, the wedding day dawned bright and early.

First things first.

COFFEE. After a night like the previous one, I’m pretty sure nobody minded that much.


Hello, beautiful. <3

Next, it was time to start getting ready before loading up to head to the church. I started with Jessica’s hair and makeup:


Everything seemed to be going well!

(did I mention that Mama made the hair combs?? :) )

After the rest of us got dressed (minus the bridesmaid’s dresses… they wrinkled if you looked at them the wrong way! We opted to change into those at the church) we grabbed a quick lunch and packed up to head to the church.


Jess and I, just before the ceremony

These next pics are the photographer’s proofs. I didn’t really have time to take photos throughout the day until later.


Kylie getting ready


Bridesmaids’ first glimpse of Kylie


Two of my handsome brothers – best man and groom


Details on the bridesmaid flowers – pre-ceremony


Kylie’s dad sees her for the first time pre-ceremony


A quiet moment


Josh and Kylie share a prayer before the ceremony

Let the ceremony begin!


My grandfather and Kylie’s grandmother take their seats


Kylie’s other grandparents make their way to their seats


Matthew escorts Mama and the littles into place


Atticus seats Mrs. J (Kylie’s mom)


The littles are watching very patiently


Joshua and Daddy take their places

(bridemaids/groomsmen)


Atticus and Lydia (Kylie’s siblings)


Jessica and Matthew


Me and Joshua’s good friend, K


Jacob and Denalyn (Kylie’s sister) – Best Man and Maid of Honor


In place and ready!

(here comes the bride)


First glance at Kylie!

(ceremony has begun)


Daddy opening up with prayer, saying a few words, and asking “who gives this woman away to be married?”


Josh and Kylie sharing their very first kiss


Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Lambert!

(formals)


The Lambert and J family


The newest Lambert family picture! (Kudos to anyone who knows everyone’s names! ;))


Josh and Kylie


Josh and Kylie


Josh and Kylie


Josh and Kylie


Bride and Bridesmaids


Bride and Bridesmaids


Groom and groomsmen


The whole gang


\o/


The rings


Got caught wearing cowboy boots to the reception. :D


Bouquet toss

{what we did to their car}

It’s still hard to believe that they are actually married! The day was absolutely beautiful and I hope that they have a wonderful marriage with many delightful and blessed years to come. <3

Kylie's younger sister, Lydia, video-journaled the day if you'd like to watch. :)

This was the official “live-stream” – it’s still incredible to see just how many people have tuned in to watch Josh and Kylie get married. We are so blessed to have friends who live all over the place. :) (start the video at 19:25)

More updates on our adventures to come soon. Many blessings to you, my dear friends!
~Court