Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halfway through October

I had a goal this year of posting at least once a week, a goal I did pretty well on except for July and September.  I thought I would write this morning to help meet my October goal.  So here's what's been happening in October so far:

1.  James turned 8!

We had five friends from his class at school over on his birthday, the third time we've done that in three years here in England.  He has the nicest group of kids in his class.  This year he had a Zelda-themed party.  I had to use an entire bottle of green food coloring to get that hue for his cake.

2.  We announced we're moving to France for a season.

After three years in North Yorkshire, the Lord opened a door for us to serve and help our dear friend, Parker, realize a long-held dream of planting an English-speaking church in the center of Paris.  In the past several months, God has provided a building, a group of people, musicians, etc.  The missing piece of the puzzle was someone who could come help preach, get things set up, and give the pastors at the mother church margin to help get this new location off the ground.  Long story short, the missing piece of the puzzle seems to be us.  I'm not sure if the above picture creates confidence.

We have long wanted to work with Parker after several mission trips serving Emmanuel in the past, and circumstances and our hearts have lined up for such a time as this.  We are deeply grateful for the past three years in North Yorkshire and for our church family here.  We're encouraged by all God is doing in the north of England, and I was greatly encouraged this week by Paul's words to the Ephesians:

"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints,
this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable
riches of Christ..."

For all the joys of cross-cultural ministry, there are many hard things that reveal all of our weaknesses, as hard things do for all of us, and in a new venture, it is deeply encouraging to rest in Jesus, to be "well-content" with my weaknesses because in them His strength is made perfect.

3.  We had a weekend road trip to submit paperwork for French visas.

We stopped to stretch our legs in Berwick-upon-Tweed.  I embarrassed myself for you by mispronouncing it.  The correct pronunciation is "Bear-ick."  You're welcome.  This is an interesting place on the border of England and Scotland.  It changed hands several times before permanently becoming part of England in 1482.  

4.  We spent a night with friends in Whitby on our whirlwind weekend road-trip and saw a Harry Potter film location on the way home.

Goatheland is a small village in the North York Moors National Park, and its train station was used as Hogsmeade Station.  Visiting these old train stations feels like stepping into the 1940s and is so fun.  This one was complete with signs like this:

5.  We received French visas and permission to homeschool for a year in France!

Seeing the answers to so many prayers has been so encouraging and confirming the past few days especially.  Visas and plane tickets and travel plans are now made.  The kids have started Rosetta Stone French, and James is happy to tell people, "Je suis un garcon."  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Driving through Glencoe

One thing I've learned about driving in the UK is that if you pull over every time you see a beautiful view you'll never get where you're going.  The drive to Inverness was no exception, and I took so many pictures from the car as we drove into the Highlands and through Glencoe.  We would really love to go back to Glencoe one day and spend some time walking the hills filled with waterfalls.

I've learned the secret to half-decent drive-by photos is using your longest lens.  That way you can shoot over guard rails or other cars and parts of the road.  Isn't Glencoe lovely? The hills, the mist, the water, and the heather are heart-stopping.

Eventually I had to ask K.J. to stop the car, and we pulled off beside a perfect Scottish stream.

The wildflowers were so beautiful.  James brought me these.

There's a James-boy in the distance.

There was such peace and quiet by that stream.  The water made the most pleasant sounds.  But onward we had to go.

On so many occasions here I take a picture and am blown away by the ridiculous beauty in the frame.  Just look at that little white house all alone in the mist.  There were so many beautiful hills that we decided to pull over and walk up one.  This decision ended up being murder on my injured foot, but when you see the picture I took at the top of the hill, you'll understand the desire to pull over!

There go Ella and K.J. up the hill.  I walked slowly and tried to be careful, but the uneven ground was obviously too much for my as yet-to-be-determined injury.


We stopped here to take pictures, and I'm still glad we did.  The view was too stunning not to get out and slowly take it in.

There were lots of waterfalls flowing down the hills in the distance.

The best part of it may have been watching the kids enjoy the spectacle before them.  Ella especially loved being in the Highlands.  She thought the house in front of the waterfall would be an excellent place to live.

As Anne said, "The world looks like something God had just imagined for his own pleasure, doesn't it?"  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thirty Days Hath September

Thirty days hath September...and didn't they go by quickly?  This has felt like the fastest month this year.

September 1 - An after-dinner game of two kinds of football simultaneously

September 2 - The cutest birthday girl and her funfetti pancakes

September 3 - My grandmother sent me a box of flavored creamers last year because they don't sell them here.  I was unashamedly excited to bring out all the pumpkin spice related things this month.  [Note:  I think flavored coffee creamer would be a better import than Twinkies!]

September 4 - A last day of summer holidays still life - James disappeared behind the counter before I could snap the picture.

September 5 - First Day of School

September 8 - First Day of Homeschool (Ella changed the chalkboard.)

September 9 - An after-dinner Rainbow

September 10 - Bedtime

September 12 - Amazing Days

September 13 - Picking up friends from the station

September 14 - Houseguests in the Morning

September 15 - Showing friends around includes coffee stops, treats, and smiles.

September 16 - There were some mishaps along the way, but this day ended with smiles.

September 17 - When guests come, you have to give them a proper tea party.

September 18 - Last Day

September 19 - Bedtime Smiles

September 20 - First Time Listening (The end had us all on the edge of our seats, even the ones who have read it before many times.)

September 21 - Prettiest little store, prettiest red ivy

September 22 - Dawn's Early Light

September 23 - I'm always trying to capture her sparkly brown eyes.

September 24 - Sunday Morning Views

September 25 - Parking spot for school pick-up

September 27 - Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal for Church

September 28 - Taste of Home Treat

September 29 - Charity Shop Find

September 30 - Morning Birds, Fall Foliage

We're in party-planning mode today, greeting October with James's 8th birthday.  Excitement is pretty high.