Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday's Memories: The End of Day 2

After leaving Arundel Castle, we headed toward our inn located in Alton, Hampshire.  We went through lots of rotaries and speculated about what this sign meant.

Is a leisure complex the equivalent of our rest area?
Or is it a place filled with restaurants and shopping?

And what exactly does Reflection mean here?

The sky was beautiful as we drove, and I was looking forward to a full moon.

I was so happy at this point.  Our first day in the country had been so wonderful, and we were driving through English countryside, the stuff of my dreams.  We were becoming extremely grateful for the loan of a GPS from some church members.  We would have been so lost without it.  When we entered the name of our inn into the GPS, a notification came up informing us that none of the places on that road had numbers.  KJ surmised it was because the road was so old.  Nonetheless, we found The Three Horseshoes, and it was everything we could have hoped for in a British inn/pub.

We walked into a somewhat smoke-filled room.  It was the first night they lit the fire and they were trying to clear the chimney.  The smell was really nice, though, and we didn't mind one bit.

We weren't able to pick up the wireless internet from our room, so we spent
our evenings snuggled up by the fire catching up with friends and family back home.
It was so pleasant and cozy.

We were led up the stairs to our room where we were greeted by what became a 
familiar reminder.  All the doorways in the older places we stayed were a little lower.

We were also greeted by this wonderful open window...and 
Florida-condo-like decor.  But we could overlook it.  Everything else was perfect,
including the flapjack granola bars made with butter, fruit smoothies, hot chocolate,
biscuits (a.k.a cookies) and muffins left on our tea tray.

We were super-hungry and ready for dinner.  We were also desperate to connect to the internet and hear from our children.  Dinner did not disappoint.

Jacket potatoes with chicken salad for me

Ham sandwich on brown bread with ale chutney and crisps for KJ

We were both pretty happy here, I think.

And our bedroom window afforded us a pleasant view of the full moon.

We were in for a very pleasant stay in Hampshire.

A Heart Full and Thankful

"...and His mother treasured all these things in her heart."
- Luke 2:51b -

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."
- Mr. Knightley, Emma, by Jane Austen -

"...speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout."
- Walden, Henry David Thoreau -

Those are a random assortment of quotes, I know, but they were all running through my head this morning as I thought about what I could say about our weekend.  It was a really good weekend.  Yesterday especially was a day of having my soul satisfied by God's Word and sweet communion  with His people.  And as much as I love words, sometimes I don't like to use them.  And that just reminded me of one more quote.

"Matthew and I are such kindred spirits I can read his thoughts without any words at all."
- Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery -

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The truth that the arts give rarely new information; 
it tends to be a bringing to consciousness of what 
we already know but to which we have 
become oblivious in daily living.

- Leland Ryken, The Liberated Imagination

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Flashback: The Castle Keep

Only one more post of castle pictures...I promise.  

We got to walk up into the Castle Keep, the oldest part of the castle.  First we stood in the room where the first queen of England was kept imprisoned by her uncle.  I don't really know if poor Matilda gets to count as the first queen of England since she never really got to be queen.  KJ and I read all about it that week in Charles Dickens' history of England.  So sad.  Those horrible men thought it would be degrading to have a woman rule over them, and right now I'm trying to remember if they actually killed her or if she just happened to die.  KJ can tell you.  He has a better memory than me.  Either way, those were dark days.

This was one of those times where I nonchalantly held the camera in my hands
and accidentally pressed the shutter down.  Technically, we weren't supposed to take
pictures inside the castle.  But I was in the bedroom of the first queen of England...  Oops.

There's the village of Arundel and the river leading back to the sea.

There's the cathedral from the top of the Castle Keep.

Is that a moat?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

The tower steps were tall and steep.

How creepy is the man in the dungeon?

I was nervous about falling down these steps.

How fantastic is that?
I think that's where the family still lives.

I loved all the light through the castle windows.

All in all, I did a good job of refraining from photographing the inside of the castle.  We walked through rooms and room of elegance and bedrooms where queens have slept through the years.  There were checkpoints we had to walk through and show our passes, great halls for eating and receiving guests.  It was all incredibly beautiful and wonderful.  

When we left it was raining so I didn't get any really good shots of the gardens.  We also had to leave rather quickly because the grounds were closing at 5 p.m.  We began the long walk back to our car in the misty rain perfectly happy and content.  We loved Arundel Castle.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I was just thinking about these lines this morning.  And no one reads them better than Alan Rickman, of course.

For whatsoeuer from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide vnto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.

- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene -

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I got my camera back! (Part 2)

Maybe I'm biased, but sometimes,
white-blonde hair and blue eyes are a killer combination.

Camera + Baby

I'm posting these this morning because I just couldn't help myself. 
Oh, the cuteness...

That smile came at my request for KJ to do something to make him laugh.

KJ went to the doctor yesterday and then spent the afternoon at home.
It was glorious.  My life felt full and complete again.

Not only do I have my friend and companion and other part of me, I have help.  It's a lot of work to keep a house going, discipline, break up arguments, grocery shop, fix meals, get homework done, bathe, and put to bed two kids all by yourself.  I gladly did it for him, but it's so nice to have him back, to be able to go outside and jog before it gets dark because he's there to watch the kids.  In addition, it's not nearly as lonely after the kids are in bed.  I'm so glad to have my husband home.  And I'm afraid you can expect more pictures like the above as long as there's a camera and a baby in the house.  Maybe James will sit still today, and I can take his picture...maybe. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I got my camera back! (and this baby is so cute)

The Return Husband

He's baa-ack!!!

And he brought with him images like this one.

And this:

He brought back stories of fellowship and stories that make you 
wish there was something more you could do to help.

He brought back gifts...and a sinus infection.
But the most important thing he brought back?

My reason for existence, perhaps?  
That's being a little dramatic but not too much.
I'm so glad he's home.

Oh, more thing he brought back...
my camera!!

Oh, how I've missed it...but not as much as him of course.  Of course.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Story of Redemption

Last Saturday found me recovering from being sick all week and preparing for KJ to leave for Haiti so I didn't join Leslie in "Finding Delight."  I wanted to re-join her this week, though, because I think it is a good discipline  for me to sit and think about the things I read in God's Word over the past week.  

First, I took great delight in reading through 2 Thessalonians one day.  I love words. And there were so many good, strong, faith-building words in this short little book.  I especially took delight in the joy that is to come to us "...when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed...".  It brought great joy to my heart to think about just how much "marveling" we'll be doing on that day, marveling that we are there by His grace, being accepted, welcomed, and loved by Him, and seeing Him face to face.  What a day of unending delights that will be.

I also read the book of Ruth this week.  It's such a beautiful story.  It's beautiful in the way that Boaz reflects God's character and the redemption He's given us.  With KJ gone, it has been a week where I've thought about marriage, and I am so grateful for all that it represents, all that it means, and the ways it has enabled me to see and understand God's love for me.  

Ruth found "favor" in the eyes of Boaz, and I loosely interpret that to incorporate delight.  I must confess that I also found much to laugh at as I read.  Naomi was reminding me just a little bit of Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice with all her instructions to Ruth.  "Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking."  Boaz is a lot like an Austen hero, older, wealthy, honorable, and noble.  

The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!  (Ruth 2:12)

Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer. (Ruth 3:9b)

I remember Naomi's words to Ruth at the beginning of the book resonating with me when I was in college, and I thought about them this week as I read, too.  "The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!"  Isn't rest what we long for?  A place of refuge, provision, acceptance, and love?  I'm thankful for finding that rest with KJ and thankful for the wealth of rest I find in Christ, under whose wings I have come to take refuge.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Flashback: Inside the Castle Grounds

Who's ready for more castle pictures??  It's just what you needed on this rainy Friday, isn't it?

It looks very moody there, doesn't it?

You'll notice that this day goes from being cloudy and overcast to brilliantly sunny in a moment.
That's England for you.

I couldn't resist a little fun with that one.
Maybe I should turn it into a postcard.

This is KJ's favorite shot.

You couldn't use this gate, but it led out to the High Street.  
It was pretty impressive.

At this point, I go off in search of the lavatory,
and I walk forever and ever and ever,
finally finding myself in the most amazing gardens I've ever seen.

Pebbly gravel crunched under my feet, water flowed from fountains,
roses bloomed, and after much searching and nearly giving up,
I finally found said lavatory hidden behind some hanging vines in a far corner.

During all this time the sun shone, the colors were glorious,
and the rest of this post features KJ Pugh's mad camera skills.

I promise you there is no better grass than that on English soil.

I don't know if he was just snapping a picture of the castle's chapel,
or if he was aiming for the door in the hedge,
but I really love how very "Secret Garden-ish" it is.

Can you believe that blue sky?
When we came out of the castle an hour later it was raining.
I love you, England.

I was laughing at myself the other day when it was raining a little bit.
I pulled out my umbrella and didn't want the rain to mess up my hair.
But in England, I walked bare-headed and didn't mind the misty rain at all.
Rain and frizzy hair belong there.  It's atmosphere. 

I really enjoyed KJ's shots.
I hope you did, too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

On Novels

It's nap time for the little boys at my house.  (Whew!)  For my background noise I chose the BBC's newest version of Emma.  Oh, Emma...  I've been reminded of this quote a couple of times in the past week.  Jane's words apply so well to her own.

“It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the 
mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature,
 the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, 
are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.”

Only a novel indeed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I just finished editing this picture for my mom.  We stopped to take it on our way back to our inn at Alton from Steventon, home of Jane Austen in Hampshire.  That was a really nice day.

Party Pictures

Because of my expert computer skills, my hard drive gave up 
all my pictures to me this morning.

Just kidding.

I don't know why it wouldn't open the files last night, but when I restarted the computer this morning everything opened quite easily.  Who can understand these things?

Either way, here are a few pictures from my birthday.

While they're loading I'll be getting Ella ready for school and fixing her lunch.
I'm such a multi-tasker.