Monday, November 30, 2015


November really is a month of change and transition.  Our November began with shorter days and lots of fog.

November 1 - The view from our bedroom - All the leaves are gone now.

November 2 - There's always a nice view at this spot when I'm driving Ella to ballet.  In the spring there was a field of golden rapeseed.  

November 3 - I told my mom I'd take a picture of this beautiful cauliflower from my vegetable box.

November 4 - Sometimes you gotta Facetime your husband in his office across the yard.

November 5 - This German chocolate is a revelation in deliciousness.

November 6 - In case you ever wondered what plugs in the UK look like... They are hefty.  This was a picture for my mom to show her our adapters.

November 7 - This old mile marker is in the next village up the road from us.  I was out for a walk and decided I needed a picture.

November 10 - Watching The Jungle Book with this little treasure

November 11 - I've been going to a Zumba class that meets in a village hall a few miles up the road.  This is the lovely view from the car park.

November 12 - Tamsin comes for dinner every Thursday and sometimes teaches the kids Maths. James is demonstrating his skills.

November 13 - The kids decorated Christmas cookies at their school's Christmas Fair.

November 14 - We found a Gap outlet not too far away.  It was a little slice of home.

November 15 - It was just one of those ordinary moments, brushing my teeth with James before church on a Sunday morning, when it struck me what a beautiful, ordinary moment it was.

November 16 - It feels so hard in this season of life to slow down with Bible reading, pick up pen and paper, and be still.  But my soul always feels refreshed when I do.

November 17 - Frosting these brownies.  Raise your hand if they look just like what you ate in your lunchroom growing up.

November 19 - It's time for school!

November 20 - I found a fun ride to the cinema.  I helped Nancy chaperon her daughter and a group of friends, and I was quite happy to do it!

November 21 - Saturday mornings are a good time to snuggle.

November 22 - A rainy Sunday afternoon seemed like a good time to try our hand at painting the bathroom ceiling.

November 23 - The next day - We just decided to paint the whole thing while we were at it.

November 24 - Picked up a friend from the station

November 25 - I finally wrote down all the equivalents to an American stick of butter so I could stop googling for every recipe.

November 26 - Caught in the act licking those fingers while making a chocolate chip cookie cake on Thanksgiving.  Also, Matt the best houseguest ever, painted the kitchen the day before Thanksgiving. We had some places we needed to touch up after putting in our refrigerator.  I was a little nervous about the color at first, but I like it now!

November 27 - Morning Sunshine - It goes so quickly these days.

November 28 - At the end of a week filled with cooking I had let a lot of other household tasks go, making the bed being one of them.  It was nice to come upstairs and find KJ had taken care of that for me.  The bed never looked cozier.

November 29 - An late afternoon walk in the wind yesterday

And today, today rain has been predicted from sunrise to sunset.  We're doing homeschool today, and it's our last day with Matt, and it's time to clean up and plan for an early Christmas celebration with KJ's parents.  

It's been a good week.  I love Thanksgiving, the pause for thankfulness before the lights and magic of Christmas.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rainbow Sightings

We've had a lot of rainbow sightings lately.  If the conditions needed are rain and sunshine in quick succession and then repeat I suppose we've had peak weather conditions!  On a morning drive last week into the Yorkshire Dales for a Bible study I was glad my friend Lisa didn't mind stopping over and over again.

When we first glimpsed this rainbow we didn't know that it would stick around for so long and just get brighter and bolder.

This was our first pull off the road and stop.  Look how beautiful!  I was struck by how happy seeing a rainbow could make me.  Rainbows are occasional and fleeting, and seeing them feels like a special gift.

We stopped again when we saw the rainbow's end right behind this beautiful school on a hill. Zooming in with my iPhone didn't give the best photo quality, but it was better than nothing!  And also, wouldn't you like to go to school here?

I couldn't believe how long this rainbow stuck around.

I loved how you could see the colors of the rainbow on the trees.  And thank you iPhone for the panorama feature!

Most people are familiar with the promise God made Noah after He sent the flood that destroyed the earth because of all the evil in men's hearts:  "I have placed my bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures:  water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature." 

I love this from The Jesus Storybook Bible about the significance of the bow shape and God's plan to rescue us from our sin and the evil in our hearts.

It wasn't long before everything went wrong again
but God wasn't surprised, he knew this would happen.
That's why, before the beginning of time, he had another plan--
a better plan.  A plan not to destroy the world, but to 
rescue it-- a plan to one day send his own Son, the Rescuer.

God's strong anger against hate and sadness and death
would come down once more--but not on his people, or
his world.  No, God's war bow was not pointing down at
his people.

It was pointing up, into the heart of Heaven.

So when you stop and think about it, rainbow sightings are the perfect way to head into this season of advent, bringing their reminder that God has sent His rescuer, His son Jesus, to restore us and to give hope to everyone who trusts Him.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

100 Pictures of Stonehenge (or at least, it might feel like it)

It's a good thing I blogged every day in the month of October because writing and photo editing took a serious hit in November.  Let's flashback to our last days of vacation, though, shall we?

When we knew we were going down south for our vacation it seemed like the perfect time to visit Stonehenge.  Stonehenge is almost as synonymous with England as Big Ben for Americans, and we knew it would be pretty horrible to show our faces back in America without having seen this historic monument.  So:  CHECK.  We did it, and we took lots of pictures.

As ever, English Heritage (who manages the property) had wonderful activities for the kids, and we all had our own audio guide as well.  When we first began walking up to the monument I felt a little underwhelmed.  Stonehenge is such an iconic place in the historical imagination that there was an initial moment of letdown; however, that feeling changed for me the closer we got to the famous stone circle.

If there was ever a boy who loved audio guides, it is this boy.  Though it was not intended for children with extensive comments and speculation about how the stones came to be here and why, James faithfully listened to each segment.

Maybe it's because KJ is writing a book that has some important scenes taking place at Stonehenge, but I felt like there was so much "scope for the imagination" here, as Anne Shirley would say.  There is such a sense of history, and it was fun to imagine people coming here in the past for so many years. It definitely helped that we had a gorgeous day to complete our walk around the circle at a leisurely pace and really enjoy it.  If it had been wet, rainy, or windy I'm sure we would have been in a hurry to just get back inside.

It really is amazing to think of the effort involved in moving the stones and smoothing them and setting them up.  It really is a perfect location for a structure of some sort, as you can see it from a long way off.  There are still old pathways leading up to Stonehenge, and it is surrounded by barrows, believed to be where important people were buried.

Because we weren't in any great hurry we took the time to walk down the paths to some of the barrows.  I was a little surprised you were allowed to walk around on them.  But first, I did take a few more pictures from different angles.  I wanted to make sure KJ would be able to describe everything perfectly.

I even found a face in the rock.

I love the autumn colors in this picture of James.

We had watched Big Hero 6 the night before so the kids were giving each other fist bumps and saying, "Fa la la la."  It was a good day out for the Pugh fam.