Another one of my favorite things is flowers. Who doesn't love them? I took this picture at my friends home today. I was coming down her stairs and saw them in her foyer and just stared...and then got my husbands point & shoot camera. She is very creative and has an eye for putting things together. The flowers, mirror, and candles express..."Welcome into my home." How inviting and warm for this to greet guests upon their arrival. My day was better from just looking these. It has been 11 years since I snagged my better half...and to this day when I smell a Stargazer Lilly and I am wearing my wedding dress and saying "I do" all over again. That smell is so distinct to me that memories and emotions come flooding back. My favorites (besides the obvious Stargazers) are wildflowers...what are your favorites out there? I would love to hear.
I am still struggling with exactly what to write here. Some things you don't need to describe because the picture says it all. Example...this is Ari. She is the daughter of some friends of ours. Her eyes are just beautiful and she looks so content. She is just now walking and trying to keep time with her older brother. She is one tough coookie so he better look out! I snapped this today while getting coffee with her mom. For those of you who know me, you know I am so NOT a coffee drinker. I ordered what is called a Luxury Hot Chocolate Abyss. Doesnt that sound wonderful? It was...every sip. Anyhow, Ari was trying to decide where to climb in the restaurant when I took this. I have enjoyed watching these children here grow and being a part of their lives. They are such a blessing!
TWO NEW POSTS...My Favorite Things & Shameless Plug
One thing I have tried to do to help myself adjust to a new country has been that I have surrounded myself with familiar items. Let me first start by saying that I am NOT implying that I AM, in any way adjusted yet...my husband is probably thinking,"since when did you adjust?" Whether it is pictures, trinkets, quilts, scrapbooks, whatever...every now and then, I find myself feeling familiar in a strange place. I took this snapshot of a picture that I love. This photograph was taken by me, almost five years ago. It is our children on a cold beach in Florida...it is my favorite of them. Have you ever gotten that photo that was just right? This was mine. My brother-in-law who is in advertising...took the picture from me, added some effects and then had it printed on a huge piece if artists canvas that is about 16x20. Later that year, I had it put into a driftwood frame for my husband for Fathers Day. It was the first item in our home here in London to have a spot. Everytime I look at this, I feel joy. I thought I would share with you all just one of my favorite things...
OK, no I did not take this pic...and yes, I will be posting another pic later...
I was inspired by another friend who blogs to share this...her own mother is the Appalachian folk musician...Anne Lough. My father Bill is the baritone in the Social Security Boys...he is the handsome man on the right of this CD cover (the one in the snazzy suspenders...oh wait, they all have those on). You heard right...my dad's CD "dropped" earlier this year. You can find a link to their website (with tour dates, CD's, contact info, etc) to the right of my page. If you like southern gospel music or know someone who does, it would make a wonderful gift for Christmas. I found out while I was home that they are playing on 1100 stations all over the States and the feedback has been very good. I am so happy for them. Way to go boys!
Just three short weeks ago this tree was filled with leaves...loads of them, so thick that you couldn't see through. After looking at it out of the window for a few days, I really do think that this is just as pretty. I love the blue, blue sky as the backdrop for this massive tree and all the branches protruding from it. I can truly appreciate every line I see. This photo looks very crisp and purposeful. Year after year, season after season, this tree does exactly what it is supposed to do. Without fail. What God intended for it to do. It comforts me that some things do not change.
This is the perfect snapshot of my day (yesterday and today). Nice, huh? I have been asleep in this bed for the last 36 hours on and off. For some reason, the jetlag I am experiencing has been pretty rough. I have never had such a hard time adjusting to coming back. I am glad to say that I am feeling much better now and am hoping to be a productive member of my family by tomorrow (my husband is praying for that too)... :)
After quite a journey yesterday and the worst case of jetlag I have EVER experienced...I am finally home. I arrived to gray, cold, and rainy weather in London...surprise, surprise. I will be posting my next photo later tonight. I am "in-between" cameras now with mine officially out of commission. So thanks for understanding that I am doing the best I can to make do.
Check back later for the next post with a pic. Thanks!
Is anyone else tired and full after the big Thanksgiving Day meal? I sure am...I was ready to sleep at 5pm tonight. I got this pic of my brother-in-law putting the finishing touches on his tasty dumplings. He made them at my request and they are just one of my favorites he makes. He's a country boy living in the city and boy can he cook! Thanks Janice (that is his mom)! It was a wonderful last day to spend with all my family. I am going to miss them so much. We will be on a plane for much of the day tomorrow crossing over into the London time zone.
It's time to go to my other home...
The blues and oranges are beautiful tonight out my sister's back door. Once again, I am in awe of the Savior's blessings upon me. Missing my family and an ocean away, I am reflecting on how my Father showers me with His unconditional love...
"You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you."
If this swing could talk...
Boy, would I love to hear those stories. Hung with love by my father...it has only been there for few years. Swung on by his 11 grandchildren (not to mention the brave adults). Open for fun during spring, summer, fall, and yes, even winter. I have to admit even at my age, I have gotten on it more than a few times for a ride...ok, it was a slow ride. How fun! It makes me feel like a kid again. I walked outside earlier today and there was my pic. The wind was as still as it looks in the photo. And very cold. Regardless of weather...how inviting that tire swing looked to me!
This isn't my normal type of pic. I am showing you how we all communicate when we are on separate continents. I certainly don't feel 5000 miles away when I am looking at my husband on the webcam. We are a mac family and I dont know how I would be surviving without that camera. That sign he is doing is how we say I love you to eachother. I am so grateful that he has sacrificed for me to be here while my family needs me. It is not easy being the mom and dad while I am gone. I can honestly say that he is my better half. I know exactly what my blessings are this Thanksgiving....I miss you and I will be home soon.
We finally left today for our road trip! I snapped this pic just outside my parents home before we pulled out of the driveway. I like the reflection of the trees and sky in the door. So clear. I miss home already. It was nice to get a reminder of all things familiar...the smell of my dad's pipe, my parents grilling out on the backporch and so much more. My hopes are that these things will last in my memory awhile until my next visit home.
Another day, another beautiful North Carolina sky. The clouds are so different here than in London. I wonder why that is so. I guess it is the different atmosphere. Anyhow, I took this tonight just before dusk.
Aaaahhhh...the sounds of fall...leaf blowers! :) My mom and dad are so good with that stuff (outdoor stuff)...I never really got into yardwork! I snapped this today after the front yard was blanketed with leaves that had fallen over the past few days. The seasons change again...
I never thought today I would get this picture. There was a torrential downpour in Virginia today, all day. The flooding, the powerful gusts of wind. In the end, I couldn't stop looking at the sky and how beautiful it was so quickly after the storm. As I was sitting on the front porch swing, out of the corner of my eye I saw this windchime, against the trees in the background and the clear sky. I watched the chime for awhile and it did not move. That is how calm the winds became. I was reminded of the song by Caedmon's Call called "There is Only One"...Here is the chorus...
There's only One, only One, who beckons the morning light,
There's only One, only One, who sets loose the gales and
ties the trees down tight
What a powerful picture. Why do I not remember the scope of His strength? Why do I think my own strength is good enough to rely on? God is so magnificient and powerful and yet gently cradles me close to Him. Just a reminder for me to go to Him in all my chaos and be still.
OK. Sorry this took so long...I am experiencing technical difficulties in my travels not to mention my camera (it's official...it has been forcefully retired). The computer I went to use last night is on dial-up and it wouldn't let me load pics onto my page. But another day, another try and it worked! Here is a pic snapped as we crossed the state line from NC into VA. I planned a last minute trip to see some family there. I have always wanted to get this pic and never have. It seems like a lifetime since I have lived here but it wasnt that long ago. It really was good to be home...
I couldn't help myself...I would be kidding myself if I didn't have Target somewhere in my pictures while I am home. I was so excited to be able to go in and find anything I want...I could browse those aisles for hours. Yes, I understand that I could have serious problems. When I walked in for the first time after arriving here, I was completely overwhelmed with choices...and how ginormous (that is from one of my FAV movies...ELF, with Wil Ferrell) the place was. If you are wondering, my camera still does not work. I snapped this with my mothers camera tonight as I was attempting to do some Christmas shopping.
Other than the man at the camera shop saying "that isn't good" about 12 times in our conversation, as he was looking at my camera...there is no diagnosis yet as to if it will work for me in the future. His best guess was no. So, it wasn't a good morning. That being said, I realize that I can hardly have a negative outlook when I am passing these splendid trees while out driving today. Have you ever seen such a beautiful color? Is it ruby, scarlett, auburn??? I am not sure that there is a word for this color yet. Whatever it is..I couldn't take my eyes off of it. I am always in awe of the colors on the Lord's painting pallette...and that He constantly offers to us new and amazing things to gaze upon. Today I am feeling blessed.
I can't believe that I am writing this on my blog...I snapped this pic early this morning during a downpour with my mom's camera. I wish that I could say that this is a pretty fall leaf that had fallen in a small pond and I just happen to catch it. But that is not the case. I woke up to realize that I had left my Nikon Digital SLR camera outside last night and forgotten to bring it in. This puddle is identical to the one that my camera was in when I found it this morning....drenched and waterlogged on my parents patio table. I don't have the words to describe how I felt at that moment...and that is rare that I am speechless. I have had it just over a year (my ten year anniversary gift...sorry honey) and it is my constant companion. It is ruined. For now, I will be using my mom's camera...and by the way, I am now taking donations for another one.... :)
As believers, nourishment is vital to our walk with Christ. For the past several months, I have felt parched like no other time in my life...maybe it is because I know the difference now in my life when I am in His word and when I am not. For me, coming home is a chance to get sustenance. Spiritually and emotionally. I am praying for a moist, rich soil in my heart...so that the fruits of the Spirit can grow out of me freely, without restriction and please my Father. My starting place will be in His word. I passed by this watering can today and thought of one thing...the fact that in order for me to grow...I need living water.
Jesus answered, "If you knew the generousity of God, and knew who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."
I feel so blessed that I am getting to enjoy my favorite season twice in one year! Once in London, once here stateside! I love fall! The trees are now turning in North Carolina and they are beautiful. This tree is off of my parents back porch...when I saw the gold leaves against the bright blue sky I could not help but stare...and keep staring! Below is another bonus pic!
Scroll down to DAY ONE to get the pics on order...sorry they are so late!
This pic is from the Farmers Market here in Raleigh today. Don't these look so inviting? We had a nice morning walking from stall to stall and gathering up our favorite veggies to have with dinner tonight. It really was a photographers dream to stroll through here...the colors are beautiful and vibrant. Your senses are pulled in all different directions...the sights and smells. It made me want to eat it all! Jack especially loved the jars of honey with the honeycombs inside and the free samples of fruits that he could try.
Second stop...Flight 59 from London Gatwick to Atlanta. This had to be the longest 24 hours of my life. Jack did great other than the last 3 hours where he was literally arguing with me in his sleep while making sounds I have never heard from a human being. I got several great shots out the window of our 767 plane and this one was my favorite. We spent some of our time trying to figure out what these clouds reminded us of...some of our answers? Cotton, cotton candy, water, waves, snow and sand in the desert. 17 hours, 2 flights, and three time zones later..we were snoozing in the States! It was totally worth it.
First stop...Starbucks at the London airport. This is where Jack and I stopped to share our favorite drink...a strawberries and creme frappuccino...YUM! It was the perfect way to start off our time together. We only stopped there to get "reacquainted" with American culture...it worked! Hehehe.
I love winter. The crisp, cold chill in the air, sweaters, scarves, pounds of quilts and pillows on my bed. It is here in London. I walk by this tree everyday and today I saw these berries everywhere. I loved it. The red and green foliage against the clear blue sky looked so fresh. I am headed home for an unexpected visit with family. My next post will be up later than normal due to the fact that I am crossing an ocean and some time zones (I am sure I will throw in an extra pic for you also). Please say a prayer for safe travel and for some sweet moments of sharing together.
Those of you who know me, know I love music. My iPod is always within reach. I am still holding out hope that iTunes will ask me for my Celebrity Playlist...hehehe. Music is such an important part of my life (despite the fact that I can't hold a note or play an instrument...other than a good air guitar). I celebrate and reflect with it. I worship to it. I tell stories with it. I can pinpoint parts of my life based on a tune I hear. Music takes me to a place that I can hardly describe. One of my favorite things to do is play music to photographs. It evokes all sorts of feelings. This is my husbands guitar. I got it for him so that he would play for me (OK, and others too...he likes to play)....and he does play for me. I am such a groupie...his biggest fan.
Oh and FYI, regarding yesterdays post...today was a beautiful day here!
I have posted 51 pictures...2 of those have been of rainy days here in London. Yes, there is a lot of rain...and because we see so much rain, on a clear day, the blue sky seems more blue, the white clouds seem more billowy. The most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I have ever seen have been here. Unfortunately, I think it is because I am finally paying enough attention to watch them. That is one for me to ponder. This is the sunset tonight from our back porch...absolutely stunning. My great uncle used to say that when the sunset was pink that the next day it would be beautiful...I will let you know.
That is the name of one of my favorite songs (performed by Todd Agnew, download it from iTunes if you get a chance). The song paints such a beautiful picture of redemption. Sins washed away. A new beginning in Christ. It is ours for the taking...we just need to surrender and believe. Like the Prodigal Son story in Luke (15: 11-32), I have needed a lot of grace in my life and I hope it has helped me to be able to give it to others more freely. It's not the easiest thing to give. It can make you vulnerable to pain and disappointment. But the feeling is like no other...it restores my soul spiritually just offering it. It is a reflection of love. I took this picture after my friend Josephine prayed with me today...thanks to my friends and family, for always showing me grace...(over and over and over...)
grace. noun. mercy; a manifestation of favor; kindness.
What is so funny about these piles of folded laundry? There are 5 piles behind the ones you see in the picture. Yes, I am cringing too! I am no domestic goddess...that is for sure. Every woman has her preferences for laundry. I don't mind washing it, I LOVE folding it (it is pretty therapuetic)...but it takes me DAYS (and days) to put it away. I really dont like that part. Unfortunately, these piles will be here tomorrow...I am in no mood to be caught up on my laundry.
Here we are November 1st. I can hardly believe it. Our time here in London seems to be flying by at warp speed. Today was quite a long day emotionally, so I am hoping to get some rest tonight. This should help. I took this picture out of the top floor window in our home. And don't you love those chimneys? The sunset was beautiful and soothing for my restless heart. It feels a bit lonely around here tonight. The sky got prettier than this but I opted to savor those moments for myself without my camera. I am in awe that the Lord gives us such amazing, vibrant things to gaze upon...AND it is free. How special that makes me feel that my Father loves me so! I am starting to feel better already.