Saturday, October 31, 2015

One Year in England

I missed a few days along the way, but today is the last day of the Write 31 days challenge I participated in this month.  It turned out to be a significant month to write most days about living in England as today marks 1 year since we walked out the door of our little house and boarded a plane to fly across the ocean.  We lost a couple of days travelling due to plane delays, so our first full day in Boroughbridge was November 2, 2014.

November 2 - Elsa and Ella getting along so well was an answer to prayer and a joy to our hearts on the first day we arrived.  Ella has grown so much in her faith in Jesus this year, and Elsa's friendship has been a part of that.

December 2 - We bought lights from the Boroughbridge Hardware store for our family's first real Christmas tree.  It made Capstick's living room a cheerful place.

January 2 - James and KJ playing a game of Starflux - You can see a corner of the "rug" I put on the floor, but apparently a woolen rug is more like a throw here, and I was using it wrong.  I continue to live and learn.

February 2 - One of the best things we did is have Ella start taking ballet lessons with Elsa.  It was such a joy for her!  Here she is enjoying a chocolate mousse after ballet on a Monday night.

March 2 - I learned to welcome each new month with new flowers blooming.  In March we enjoyed the crocuses.

April 2 - We've learned a lot of new rituals and traditions in the past year, hot cross buns at Easter, for instance.  I loved the "small-town-ness" of this sign.

May 2 - I took a lot of selfies with this boy.  He's always willing to snuggle and smile for the camera. He has also made the transition to English life like a champ.  From the early days of wondering if we'd need a car (after walking to the end of the street) he now gets disappointed if we're not walking.  His accent has shifted the most, but I refused to let him call me "mummy."  We're sticking with Mom around here.  Mummy just didn't feel like my name!

June 2 - I spent a lot of time looking out this window.  I looked out on the sunny days, took pictures every hour on some days to document how quickly the clouds, sun, and rain come and go here.

July 2 - James's teacher really encouraged him to sound out words for himself and to write them down.  He wrote this after the Kizziahs left for the airport.  God was so kind to give us those few hours with them!

And I love John David, Uncle David, Claire, Karis and Katie

August 2 - I think we've finally learned that our local supermarket closes at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoons.  This particular day we were shopping in the dark, thinking maybe they were just having a power outage.

September 2 - Ella turned 9, and we felt so thankful for new friends to celebrate with her.

October 2 - James celebrated a birthday as well.  The day after birthdays are my favorite because there are so many new toys to play with and keep those kids happy!  And again, we were so thankful for all the new friends who came to James's party.  Going to school half time has been such a gift to them.

October 18 - We made it.  It has been a year of many adjustments, many moments of missing the familiar, missing our families.  It has been a year of many thanksgivings as with each fresh challenge God gave fresh grace and joy to meet it.  It has been a year of many new friendships and relationships with people that we love.  It has been a year of seeing beautiful places and important historical places that we couldn't see anywhere else.  It has been a year of learning to trust the King of all the earth, Jesus Christ, every single day, the one who says, 

"Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life...
can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:25a, 27, 34 - 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lacock Abbey

We're alternating days out with quiet days around the cottage this week, and yesterday we started the adventure in Wiltshire in the village of Lacock.  KJ and I visited the village and the abbey when we came to the UK for the first time in 2011.  We had no idea then that the next four years would bring three more visits here, culminating in a great big move.  We brought the kids here for a quick run around before going on to Stonehenge, because our tickets were for between 1 and 1:30 there, and we had a little time to kill.  That is really the beauty of being National Trust members:  you can be anywhere in the country and just stop in somewhere beautiful.

We have visited England twice in October, but it was always earlier in the month, and we've never seen such beautiful color here.  When we visited Lacock Abbey in 2011 we spent most of our time touring the house, but with limited time yesterday we walked around the grounds letting the kids participate in the children's activities.  

I took this same picture in 2011.  Ivy that changes to red is so gorgeous!  This courtyard is beautiful, too.

The other thing I really remembered about the abbey was how beautiful the windows were.

We had an unexpectedly beautiful day, and the trees were just ace.

These boys were waiting on Ella to finish her craft.

I just can't stop taking these pictures.  When you've got a blue sky and such beautiful color, you really can hear them declaring His glory, can't you?

God knew what He was about when He made England, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Adventure in Gloucestershire

Ahh, this thing called vacation (or, a holiday, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live) is an absolutely amazing invention.  It's been a really long time since we've had a family vacation, an entire week devoted to relaxing and spending time together, away from the responsibilities of everyday life, except for our responsibilities to each other, that is.  And it is the absolute best thing!

I should also say that friends that open up their home to you are the absolute best thing, too.

Today was the day with the biggest predicted chance of rain, but it wasn't as bad as originally forecasted.  Speaking of forecasters, I really feel like that would be a hard job in this country.  Everything changes so very quickly.  But I digress...we woke to gray skies but fairly mild temperatures, so after a few bumps getting everyone ready (good shoes!  good pants! do we need jackets?) and some directions from the family we were off for a morning walk.  I didn't know where we'd be walking or what sort of terrain to expect, but we ended up having so much fun.

We walked down the road a bit and then up a steep path through some woods.  There aren't many wooded paths where we live, so this was a beautiful change of scenery.

And you know I am so happy being able to take pictures of such loveliness. 

We came out of the woods and took a path beside a cow pasture before entering woods again.  We were on the hunt for a rope swing, and for a while the wind picked up, and my coat-less children started to get cold.  There was talk of turning back, but I'm so glad we didn't.

Boroughbridge is pretty much a complete dead zone for data so we have a running joke now about all of the places we can pick up 4G except for in our town:  this cow pasture for instance.

And rope swing success!

This picture reminds me of The Swiss Family Robinson when Father says, "After me, after me..." Thankfully KJ didn't fall like he did.

Ella is braver than her mama.  I think gymnastics gave her more confidence, and I'm glad for it. James was scared at first, but he warmed up to the swing before we headed back to the cottage, so I was proud of him, too.

I feel so rejuvenated after this day.

This morning I read Psalm 23:  "The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake."  I felt this so much today.  We ate lunch; I read; the kids played Monopoly with KJ; I TOOK A NAP; the kids watched Finding Nemo.  We walked around Painswick and drove into Stroud in the late afternoon and picked up a few things for dinner at Tesco. And my amazing husband found a great Buy 1 Get 1 Free movie deal, and we watched Big Hero 6 for the first time tonight.  We're behind the times, but it was such a great movie and such a great night.  So now the rain is falling, and we have plans to see Stonehenge for the first time tomorrow. Vacations:  they're just the best.