Monday, March 30, 2015

Do you remember?

"Let's talk about what we've done each year on Valentine's Day."

"Let's remember all of our anniversaries."

These are the beginnings of a lot of conversations I have with my husband, and he always groans, because while he may remember dialogue from a movie or book almost perfectly after one viewing or reading, he is horrible at games like these.  And if I'm able to tell him what I was wearing during these occasions?  He becomes even more flummoxed because he would never store such frivolous information in his brain. 

When a significant date rolls around I always tend to reach as far back as my memory can manage and try to remember what I was doing in previous years.  Easter holds a lot of memories for me.  My first posts on this blog were about every Easter in the history of my familyAs we're coming up on our first Easter in England and thinking about making new memories I couldn't help but think about Easters past.  At first I was just remembering the kids being smaller, but then as long as I was remembering...

2005:  Our first married Easter
I don't have a 2006 picture on my computer, but I was pregnant with Ella, and I do remember what I was wearing.
2007:  Easter in Kentucky, the coldest Easter we've ever had
Easter 2008 there is no family picture because I had just had my second knee surgery and was home resting.  I can't remember now if KJ took Ella to church by himself or she stayed home with me, but I do remember my dad drove to Kentucky to buy her an Easter bonnet.

2009:  First Easter in Tuscaloosa, pregnant with James

2010:  James's first sinus infection
2011:  when James had to be double-bibbed
and wore little bells on his shoes
and James sneered at the camera because we had just woken him
from a nap
2013:  the year I should have bought KJ an Easter hat too
2014:  the year of the bowtie

More important than how much we've changed or what new spring garments we donned on Easter Sunday, on the ordinary days I need to remember the feeling of triumph on Easter Sunday, the joyful reminder that Christ has conquered death and the grave, and as we hope in Him we have nothing more to fear. Charles Wesley penned the best words on the subject.
Love's redeeming work is done,
fought the fight the battle won...
Death in vain forbids him rise,
Christ hath opened paradise...
Once he died our souls to save,
Where thy victory, O grave?
Made like Him, like Him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Look Inside Capstick Cottage

Yesterday was the birthday of a man who lives in one of Florida's magical places.

You can read about the exciting life and times of James Winter (affectionately known as Daddy Jim to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren) in his autobiography, A Lifetime Remembered.  He's requested some pictures of Capstick Cottage, so this post is for you, Daddy Jim!

I haven't taken pictures of the entirety of Capstick yet, however, so this is just the living room.

By way of a little virtual tour, when you step in Capstick's front door, you have a doorway to your right, leading to the dining room, and a doorway to the left leading to the living room.

When we arrived there was only a bare bulb hanging in this room, so among many other purchases at IKEA, we purchased a shade.

This picture was taken from a second doorway that leads into the kitchen.  I like having the opening to the kitchen, though it does make furniture placement difficult because directly to my right there is a radiator on the wall, and KJ does quite enjoy standing in front of it to keep warm. You'll see here our Alabama pillow we brought from home.  We bought several stools to use as extra seating, and they also make great side tables.  I haven't quite made the time to paint the second stool yet.  When I look at these pictures I see all kinds of projects that need to be done.  Look at those blank walls!  The curtains came with the house, and I love the built-in bookshelves.  If only I had all of my books!

I stay on the lookout for books anytime I'm in a charity shop.  I love my lovely artwork by the talented Hillary Sikes.  It gets lots of compliments and came in the first package we received in England, a mere two weeks after arriving.  Since we moved in during the darkest part of the year, a single bulb in the middle of the room wasn't really cutting it in the lighting department.  IKEA to the rescue again with a lamp and some clip-on lights.

The Lord has abundantly provided for all of our needs here as we came furniture-less.  In this room we've only purchased the chair; the two loveseats were given to us. 

Any of you who are in the know about such things, should I paint the other stool/table the same color or be eclectic and go for a different color altogether?

I first took these pictures back in February, and I realized today I'd made a little more progress, so I snapped these updates with my phone this morning. I found this school room map of the British Isles when we visited Yarm last month. With the exception of the gallery wall on the stairs, we haven't really put any holes in the walls but have tried to use the nails left here by the previous occupants, mainly because this old house is extremely well built of stone and brick, and nails just don't go very easily into these walls.  The glare on that picture really makes the map look 3D, doesn't it?

I found quite a nice stack of old books from Oxfam a couple of weeks ago.  Boroughbridge has a dearth of secondhand shops.

I found this great little table at the YMCA shop.

I just noticed my sideways pillow.  Whoops.

And because I thought a detail shot might be interesting, here's a look at one of the doorknobs.

So there's a little peak into this old house, with hopefully more to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuscaloosa Tuesdays: When Friends Come to Visit

The first of March brought our first visitors from home.  They came bearing gifts (a suitcase filled with possessions we left behind), and it was such a pleasure to have them here.  These guys have been such a blessing to us.

They got to experience what a typical week looks like for us and meet everyone in Grace Church, and we were also able to go exploring a bit of the Yorkshire Dales on Thursday.  While KJ got some work done on Wednesday, and the kids were home for one of their homeschool days, I took Matt and Seth to visit Fountains Abbey.  Though we've been several times now, there are always new places and views to discover.

We had a picnic lunch overlooking the abbey and then started walking.

The kids were pretty impressed by Seth's acrobatic antics.

The day was really beautiful and sunny but still quite cold.  It was that point in the coming of spring where you somehow think if you just don't wear your big coat and gloves you can will the warmer weather to arrive.

The kids have really turned into amazing walkers.  I didn't plan on us walking as far as we did, but they insisted on going further up and further in so they could revisit a tunnel.

We did a lot of pheasant watching, and the "surprise view" was once again surprisingly beautiful.
The kids really loved having familiar faces from home around.  James is all wrapped up in Seth's scarf.  I think we all stole something to keep us warmer before the afternoon was finished.
KJ planned out our Thursday adventure that began with a quick stop in Knaresborough to see the remains of the castle.  Then we started driving into the Yorkshire Dales. 
Even pictures taken from a moving car are beautiful here.

The Adventurer had to cross her first fjord.
We had lunch in the Strid Wood and fortified ourselves with several cups of tea before going for a walk by the river.  It was windy and cold, and the water was rushing, and we saw many a brave duck swimming upstream.

This was the view of the footbridge after we climbed the hill Ella and James were so excited to climb.  It was so windy at the top James had fun throwing sticks in the air and watching the wind carry them away.

I think we all agreed that house on the hill would be a good place to settle, though it would admittedly be a very quiet life.

It looks like a painting up there, doesn't it? 
When we made it back to the car I got pretty sleepy going up the windy roads, and it was really hard to want to get back out even when we started passing waterfalls and snowy hills.

You find yourself willing to brave the cold for views like this.
Our next stop was Aysgarth Falls, where we learned a scene from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves was filmed.
Our final stop was the most beautiful, though.  We drove up to Castle Bolton, where Mary, Queen of Scots was held prisoner for a time.  We arrived too late to go inside, but the views alone were worth it.  I'm glad we have an excuse to go back another day.
It was mostly a day of walking and driving, but walking and driving can be real pleasures with good company and a place like this. We're really grateful for the time we had with Matt and Seth and how they encouraged our family.