Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday's Flashback: Bedford + John Bunyan

Folks, we have reached the last Saturday morning of our trip, the second to the last day!  This is big-time.  

We started out by driving to Bedford, where John Bunyan served as pastor and was imprisoned for illegal public preaching. It was interesting to learn that the church he was a part of owned and met on the land where the current building was erected over 200 years later.

The building to the left of the sign is home to a museum about the life of John Bunyan, where we were not allowed to take pictures.  It is separated from the church by a garden, of course.

The museum had several things that belonged to the Bunyan family, with exhibits about his early life that ended with a prison scene narrated by "Bunyan."  I remember really thinking about the providence of God that day and the circumstances He allows.  The narration talked about Bunyan's young daughter visiting him in prison and bringing him food, and it just made me sad.  It made me wonder if staying in prison really was his only option.  Being the daughter, wife, and mother of a pastor, I can't help but think about those things.  Could things have been different for him?  Could he have given up public preaching, been released from prison, and then continued to serve and teach secretly?  Been there with his family and his church?  I read this morning that Bunyan said, "If I was out of prison today, I would preach the gospel again tomorrow by the help of God."  I also read that he didn't want to cause weaker brethren to flee by fleeing himself, so I guess that answers my questions.  My main concluding thought that day in Bedford was if he had taken that route, the world might not have The Pilgrim's Progress.  And Bunyan may not have been able to write so well about the hardships and suffering Christian had to endure to arrive at the Celestial City.

There were people milling about preparing for a wedding in the church that day, but we stepped inside for a brief look around.  The front doors were amazing, with scenes carved from Pilgrim's Progress.

Inside we found a much more modern interior than in any other church we visited and beautiful stained glass windows with more scenes from Christian's journey. 

 This one is in honor of the 300th anniversary of the church
and uses the faces of Bunyan and another minister as Christian and Evangel.

This inscription is really sad but a lovely tribute.

When we first drove into Bedford we caught a glimpse of a statue of Bunyan at an intersection.  We got a bit turned around, walking in the wrong direction, trying to find it later, but we eventually got there.

From Bedford we drove not too far down the road to Olney and the homes of William Cowper and John Newton.  It was a day filled with the greats.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Pugh Thanksgiving

I didn't want to neglect posting pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration with KJ's family.  Beautiful turkey, T!

We gathered on Friday night, minus the Kizziah clan, but with the addition of T's 4 new daughters through the International Friends program at the university.  We enjoyed introducing them to our Thanksgiving traditions.

After we partook of our feast we shared about things we were thankful for, and I read THIS BOOK about Squanto and the first Thanksgiving.  After that, well...we all just stood around talking in baby voices to this little guy.

 Not Impressed

 Too Cute

 Thawing Out


 Of course I think Bama's gonna win tomorrow.
I use National Championship rings as teething rings around here.

  Roll Tide forever.

Christmas is coming.

When the kids and I took a little road-trip to join KJ preaching revival a few weeks ago, I pulled out Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb CD for the drive.  I know I'm not the only one who enjoys listening to that in preparation for Christmas.  I love the tracing out of God's story of redemption and how true words set to music help you see with your mind's eye and feel how truly amazing and wonderful this story we're a part of is.

I've had different favorites through the years since KJ's brother, Kameron, first introduced us to the album.  (It was on a particularly memorable drive back to Louisville in the dark of night that involved a snow plow.)  Of course my eyes become watery thinking about Mary being pregnant, giving birth in the stable in the cold.  With all the talk of abortion in the news, I realized afresh how much God's choosing to form His Son in the womb of a woman gives dignity and honor to women, pregnancy, and mothering.

But this year I find my eyes watering over Joseph, the shadowy sub-character in the plot and his quiet faithfulness to the unexpected events of a miraculous conception, acting as a mid-wife, living in exile in Egypt to protect this boy, Jesus.  He believed God's word to him, and when I was in college it hit me one day reading Matthew:  Did Joseph choose to keep Mary a virgin in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled that the virgin would give birth to Immanuel?  I guess I assumed that he married her before they traveled to Bethlehem together, and I don't know this, but it seemed like he made that choice in order to honor God's Word

Joseph's story reminds me that you don't have to be the main character to play an important role.  Supporting roles need to be fulfilled with faithfulness and courage, and God is glorified in that.

It Came to Pass by Andrew Peterson on Grooveshark

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday's Memories: Where William Wilberforce was Born

In the early stages of our trip planning I looked up everything we might be interested in seeing in England and marked it on Google Maps.  I was glad we were able to fit the city of Hull on our route.  We stopped by the house where William Wilberforce was born.

You can see the head of Wilberforce's statue peeking over the garden wall.  This old and elegant house now contains a wealth of Wilberforce memorabilia, as well as a museum that tells the history of slavery all the way into its modern forms.


  I loved that.

I searched everywhere for the perfect old (but not too old) copy of The Book of Common Prayer while we were in England but couldn't find one I was happy with.  But I loved that it was noted that Wilberforce was a different kind of father than most fathers of the day.  I also enjoyed reading about the ways the women of the time period worked to put an end to slavery.  I'm sure at times they felt like they couldn't do much.

  Remember you have to read some "f"s as "s"s.

This walk ran between the house and the exhibit on modern-day slavery and led to the back garden of course.

We were also able to see where Wilberforce and William Pitt were buried beside one another in Westminster Abbey.  Their friendship makes me happy, but I keep having to remind myself that William Pitt was a different man than Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays him in Amazing Grace.  Movies can mess with your mind.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

When we headed home Wednesday night it was hard to believe it was time for Thanksgiving.  This year really has seemed to pass so quickly.  Ella has proven herself to be an incredible helper over the past week, and she quickly jumped in to help Debbo make a pie crust in preparation for the morrow's feast.

There's no Wii at B.P.'s house (as James constantly reminded us that he couldn't play "Luigi and Mario)," but he tried to find a substitute in my mom's old Pac Man game.

I've been pinning various pumpkin recipes all the fall long, and I was eager to try this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.  It did not disappoint. Well, in a full disclaimer it disappointed my brother who said it was like eating air and then made himself a man-sized omelet chocked full of protein and vegetables.  It shouldn't disappoint the more feminine among you, though.

I got a kick out of Ella cutting up the pound of butter for our pound cake.  I think I've had my butter quota for the year now.

Even pretty girls in long aprons play football on Thanksgiving Day.

My mother out-did herself, as always, and our feast was delicious. 

The rest of our day was filled with afternoon naps, "bad-guy" laughs, and nail decorating.

I'm thankful for a good day with my family.