Monday, April 24, 2017

Slowing Down

Last night as I was putting the kids to bed, I felt a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit to slow down and really focus on James and then Ella, to not rush through the routine of trying to get out the door of their bedroom without having to answer too many questions.  I'm so glad I listened.

I took in James's little seven-year-old face and the way he kisses me and tells me he loves me, the way he snuggles into his pillow and closes his eyes and says, "I'm so tired" at the end of each day.  I washed all the dirt of an afternoon spent playing outside off his feet instead of lazily putting him to bed with them.

I listened to Ella talk through her day, and I wonder if she's an external processor like me because she tells me every detail.  I let her read in bed until 9:00 like I have almost every night of the Easter Holidays and hope that we'll be able to get back into a good rhythm before school tomorrow.

I am often with my kids, but my busy mind keeps me farther away than our physical proximity to each other.  I'm thankful for those moments when my mind feels aware of the present and lets go of worries and spinning thoughts of the past and the future.

Spring Break Treat of a movie in bed

Saturday, April 22, 2017


We are at the tail-end of the Easter Holidays here in North Yorkshire.  Since early words and associations hold so much meaning in your life it wasn't until I switched over to calling it Spring Break that I felt that thrill of freedom and fun.  Spring Break!  And thanks to some new friends who opened their home to us, we even got to do the quintessential spring break thing and go to the beach, or as they say here, the seaside.

I've been really aware lately of what a difference the sun makes, turning a very grey world into one of such vivid color.  For example...

It's still beautiful, of course, just a lot more grey and brown, though all the better for seeing James's bright orange bucket.  I was also thinking this week about how in the heat of a sunny, Alabama summer, I longed for the rainy days.  I longed to see the clouds darken the sky and hear the thunder in the distance because it meant relief from the relentless heat and a sense of coziness in our home.  There's an opposite mindset here:  The sun is out!  Hurry! Get outside now!  

We had such a good time hunting for sea glass and walking on the beach.  The three days we had away were only marred by my getting a killer case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot, which I had back in the fall but returned with a vengeance after I wore flat shoes with no support for a week.  I hobbled along on the inside of my foot because when my arch hit the ground a stabbing pain would go shooting through my foot.  Ugh.  I'm trying to stay off it as much as possible, do lots of calf stretches, ice it, and take ibuprofen, and I think it's improving.  But hey, forced rest and all of that.

On Wednesday we drove to another coastal town we last visited with Parker Windle two years ago, Robin Hood's Bay.  There was some beautiful scenery along the way, as you can see.

I love those patches of bright yellow in the midst of the green this time of year.  Farewell, Whitby!  You were a good place for some spring break fun.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Favorite Things Lately

They're beginning to fade away, but I've fully enjoyed the daffodils again this year.  Ella and I were reading her first William Wordsworth, that poem I know I memorized in junior high, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.  I told her it was a poem I really didn't understand until moving here:  

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils...

I remember seeing daffodils growing up, but I've never seen such a host as can be seen here.

I always think of trumpets declaring the arrival of spring when I see them.

For one glorious hour or so the thermometer hit 70 degrees, and James and I spent the afternoon reading outside in the swing because this dreamy day fell on a Sunday, and a sabbath rest never felt so good.  (I got an actual tan line on my foot from wearing flip-flops!)  

Receiving e-mail installments of my children's creative writing has been the best thing.  They make me laugh out loud and bring me so much joy.

I was finally persuaded to join the adult coloring book train with these two beauties.  As Barney Fife would say, "It's therapetic!"

I'm so excited about this one.  I left all my study Bibles in Alabama, and I got so excited that this one released in the UK on the same day as in in the U.S.  It's my Mother's Day present, and it's a picture to represent a really sweet moment I witnessed at our Easter Holiday Bible Club last week.  I was reading the She Reads Truth devotional for Friday from Isaiah 66 and had just read, "For this is what the LORD says, 'I will extend peace to her like a river... As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you..."  At that moment a little girl came running out of the hall crying and calling for her mother.  Her mother came right away to comfort her and ask what was wrong.  She was thirsty and needed a drink of water.  I teared up watching God's analogy of His love and care for us acted out so soon after reading those verses.  This mother was there immediately meeting a simple need, satisfying the thirst of her daughter with love and tenderness.  She didn't laugh even though to an adult it would seem silly to cry over being thirsty when water was so easily available.  God comforts us like this when we call out to Him.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Sunny Sunday

Today is supposed to be a sunny Sunday (Hallelujah!), but I had some pictures to post from one of the first ones we had in this spring season when our friends Seth and Lua were here.

We happened upon this field of sheep just a few minutes after that little lamb was born. Look how tiny he or she is!  We waited around for a while to see if there would be a second one coming since lambs usually come in pairs, but our waiting proved futile.

Last year I read an essay by G.K. Chesterton that stayed with me, especially when I see all the daisies start popping up.

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in
spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and
unchanged.  They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up
person does it again until he is nearly dead.  For grown-up 
people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps
God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that
God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every
evening, "Do it again" to the moon.  It may not be automatic
necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes
every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.
It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have
sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

Isn't that the best?  Do it again.  Maybe that should encourage us at the start of a new day, making the same breakfast, parenting children, completing the same round of tasks, to not get tired of the art of daily living.

This is the Church of Christ the Consoler at nearby Newby Hall.  

Ella took this photo of the newlyweds.

It was my first time to walk inside this church.  It was built with the money collected for the ransom of the family's son who was kidnapped by brigands while traveling in Europe.  The money was raised, but her son was killed.

The sound of buzzing bees was so loud around this blossoming tree!  They were hard at their work.