Fusing the Past and Present

Rustic and quaint...that is our neighborhood. I have posted about it several times. I never know what I will uncover when I walk out my front door with my camera. The narrow streets, red telephone booths, footpaths and little shops on the High Street make up a few of the many layers that define this area for me. The Hill is a conservation area which means that there are many restrictions for any changes that are done here. It is wonderful that it is protected so that future generations can see the buildings and even some of the landscaping in its most true form. Some of these streets and buildings haven't changed for 100 years. I like to know that my eyes have seen some things that others were seeing long before I was born. That is cool to me.

That being said...I appreciate when communities can blend the old and the new together without losing their connection with the past. If you do it just right it really works! I snapped this pic as I walked on the High Street. Nestled among some VERY old architecture is a restaurant/bar called CAFE CAFE. It just recently went through a remodel on the outside. It looks very inviting and warm. The street view really pops with this wonderful black, taupe and red scheme. When the cool weather passes, all these doors are opened and tables are put outside on the sidewalk for diners. Sometimes when you walk by you may hear some live music as well. I liked the phone number in the image for two reasons...1) I still love the look of all these numbers because it looks different from what I am used to in America and 2) some of you might want to make a reservation after my plug!

When it comes to our home...I like blending the old and the new also. What do you think? Old? New? Or do you mix?


Underground Adventures

We had a field trip in the city today. I know...my second day and I am already on a day out! Hey, I call that perfect planning. It is good for a girl to know her limits!

The day consisted of a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral with 20 other families in our HomeEd group we have recently joined. It was a great tour...informative and fun. Afterwards we climbed to the very top of the dome. One word about that...PAIN. Time to get on a treadmill. The only thing that made me feel better about myself was that my 13 year old was feeling the same way. While we were there, I found myself soaking up this time with my kids as I watched them participate in the answers and also asking lots of questions to our guide.

I took this picture on our way to St. Paul's. Now I have been doing the underground by myself for awhile, but this was the first time that had done it alone with my kids. Also, I don't normally have a schedule to keep and today I did. I was pretty nervous about my ability to get us there on time. As we were descending to the platforms for the Central Line I quickly snapped this. I love the underground. I like the tunnels, the lights, the escalators, the playbills all lined up, the tracks....THE LINES! What can I say? If you visit here often you knew I was going to say that. I am drawn to this image because of all the lines happening at once. It keeps my eyes busy and looking at all the details.



What a day we all had today. Thanks for all of you who were sending out your thoughts and prayers for our big start homeschooling! The kids did great and mom is still in one piece mentally and emotionally (which is huge!). I am so grateful to God for meeting me where I was today and making up the differences. He brought us all through to the other side today. If I am giving it to Him, the same will happen tomorrow. What a wonderfully loving promise He has made to me.

As for the minute to minute replay...I will skip over a lot. It was school, we all went and remember what it was like. I will share the highlight of my day. My youngest son Samuel came to me after we were all finished with working. Actually, he ran to me, gave me a massive hug and said "Thanks mom for homeschooling me today!" It was just one of those things that I will treasure on those days when he is rolling his eyes at me...possibly as early as tomorrow.

I snapped this pic as Jack did his spelling this morning. He is my detail-oriented child. Not stopping until it is done just right. This kind of attention to detail makes his handwriting shine. Some of you may notice a couple of things about this picture. One...he is a lefty like his dad. People always get a kick out of seeing that. I am told I wouldn't understand the importance of this because I am right-handed. Whatever. Second, that awesome North Carolina Tarheels pencil he is using. His dad, aunt, uncle and grandfather were all graduates and we are already doing a little bit (ok, a lot) of subliminal messages to prepare him for his college years there. This is exhibit A of that fact.

I'm off to rest for a bit now. I am so grateful for today and the fruits that I have seen and shared with my children. Time to go prepare for tomorrow...


Finding my Direction

If this weather vane was my life tonight...it would be spinning out of control like there was a storm coming.

Tomorrow is my first day of homeschooling all three of our children. Yes, all three at once. As I write I am knee deep in books. For the record, I shouldn't be taking the time to do this now, I should be doing my planning. But everyone needs a break and this is mine. What I am realizing as tomorrow gets closer is that there's a real part of me that is relying on my planning and my control for everything to come together....basically it is ALL on MY shoulders. In reality I just need God to take it all. Every subject, every book, every word that comes out of my mouth. I am begging for Him to take it, make it His and make it good.

I think I just found my direction...towards Him.

I snapped this image earlier while walking in our neighborhood. It sits atop the oldest building of the Harrow School. That brilliant blue sky is exactly what I saw...no enhancing for those of you who may be wondering. No doubt that I will be posting a few more weather vane pictures. They are everywhere here, decorating the rooftops. Again it makes everything so quaint. You don't see them in the States much so I definitely notice them as I explore. When I saw this one I knew exactly what I would be writing in this post.

I am already feeling better than I was just a few short sentences ago. Since I know I do better in small steps, I will be taking this day by day. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow as we start on this family adventure. Thanks!


Creative Juices

I love to the watch creative process on every level. Art is so subjective and I am always amazed at the gifts people have been given. To watch someone make something from nothing is so inspiring. When I woke up this morning my mind was racing as to what I should shoot today for my first post with the new camera. Not that it has to be spectacular...with me chances are it won't be. But I wanted it to be something special. Turns out, I didn't have to look far...

As I watched my boys' paint this afternoon I started shooting each movement they made. Even though they are children I realized that they were so deliberate in each stroke they made. A few times I had to remember to take some pictures because I was really enjoying just watching them create. It was a real treat for me to share these moments with them. I was reminded of how I feel when I take pictures. I feel bliss.

The image above is Jack perfecting his rainbow. In this shot, I love the way his small fingers are around the paintbrush and the shadow on the canvas gives it some extra interest. The picture below is my Sam cleaning off his brush and getting ready to dive into another color. The sunlight and shadows made this very appealing for me to capture.

I hope that I always have wonder like a child in the things I see and create. Thanks for letting me share my bliss with you.


The things we will see...

and the stories we will share. I can hardly wait.

About 7 am London time, two very important things happened here. First and most important, a flight from Atlanta arrived here with my husband onboard. He was finally back home after a tiring two and a half week trip to the States! I am so glad that he is back here with us again. He also was overloaded with all of our homeschooling supplies (about 150 pounds worth). The kids are over the moon and it is good to not feel SO out numbered anymore! Life wouldn't be life with out him by my side. I have never been made to laugh harder or been loved better than by this man. I am a better person because of him. Welcome home.

Secondly, my other "new" best friend arrived on British soil. We are so blessed that because of a gift from family we were able to replace my drowned camera with an identical model...without the water of course! I am so excited to have this camera again. It was like seeing old friend as soon as I picked it up and held it. Sounds crazy I am sure but a real part of my adapting here since we moved a year ago has been seeing my new world through a camera lens. It has enabled me to be a part of situations that normally I might shy away from completely. And since I started this blog my camera has shown me details and simplicities in things that are right in front of me. Daily I have been seeking out photographs that touch me in some way even on days when it was hard to pull myself out of bed. I didn't expect that would be such a joy for me.

I got this image after my husband handed over the goods! This is my last pic (Lord willing) with my husbands point and shoot. Don't get me wrong...his camera gave me some great shots for the last two months. I do appreciate him letting me take it over (like he had a choice) but it wasn't the same for me. Something tells me he understood that already. :)


Part Two of A London Snowfall

WOW...what an overwhelming response for my images yesterday and the day before. I am so grateful. It was a personal commenting record! Thanks to you all for your wonderful words! I get so much encouragement and laughter from reading your posts also.

Here are two more pics from yesterday...

I love the doorway above. See the snow throughout the hedge on the left? This home is so inviting to walk by everyday. I often find myself wondering who are the souls living there and what are they all about. I have had the thought to print out a photograph like this one and then drop it through their mail slot in the door. Anonymously or not...I am not quite sure. Of course I would have to explain that I am not a freak but just a wandering neighbor who loves the look and warmth of their home. What do you think? Should I do that? How would that make you feel if someone did that for you? Let me know.

Below is a wrought iron fence that clearly reminds me of London. These fences are everywhere here. Some are very simple, some are very ornate. As we walked to school I saw the snow on these and snapped it quickly while trying to keep up the pace with the kids. I like the way it looks. Very simple...and COLD!


A London Snowfall

Apparently this hardly ever happens here but today it did. I was jostled out of a very restful sleep in the wee hours by my littlest son Sam. Don't ask me why he was up so early...that is another post altogether! He was excitedly telling me to wake up, shut my eyes and go to my window for a big treat. As I approached the window he blurted out..."It snowed, it snowed!"

How refreshing it was to wake up and look out over the street to see white snow covering the trees, the sidewalks, and the fences. I have often said that my neighborhood reminds me of a place out of a storybook. Today it was a view from a Christmas card. Some areas clearly were covered while others seemed to be gently dusted. It really was beautiful. It was even more beautiful because the roads were clear and I didn't have to dig myself out of a foot of snow and ice. That scene would have been way too familiar to how it was in the States when we lived there. As a side note, by noon all remnants of this snow had vanished. Easy come, easy go I guess. I am glad that I was carrying my camera!

I snapped several images of the Hill and the fresh snow. The pic one above is definitely one of my favorites. I snapped it as Sadie and I walked the boys to school this morning. As they were making snowballs to attack their sister, I looked down one of the many side streets that weave back into yet another place I haven't explored as of yet. There are so many nooks and crannies here that are wating for me to discover them (and my camera of course). This was the view through my lens...

The snapshot below is one of the many gated homes that are around us up here. I love that the doors are painted different colors. It's very ecclectic for such a vintage and traditional neighborhood. I just liked how the pink door looked through the welcoming foliage over the gate. You can see the remnants of a snowy night on the leaves and the steps.

Would you all like to see a few more snowy pics from the Hill? Let me know when you comment.


Precious Time

As I sit and look at this picture it's as if I am looking in a mirror. I can't believe that is MY daughter sitting there. She looks just like I did at the tender age of 13. Of course she is much more fashionable than I ever was but that is OK. Where did the time go? Wasn't it yesterday when I brought her home?

She has loved & cared for me all day since I am still under the weather. We did manage to get out for some lunch at a tea and sandwich place just down the road. She had her favorite hot chocolate while I had my usual diet coke. It was fun to be with her as we laughed and talked. While we were playing around with the camera together I snapped this of her. She got one of me when I looked up while reading the menu. She was VERY quick. You can tell that I am not one for being in front of the camera. She said that I could put her picture on my blog if I also posted the one she took. It isn't everyday that we get this kind of time together so it will be treasured for years to come...

Photo credit of "Mom" by Sadie


Color Me Rainy

This is going to be short. I have a pretty bad cold and my head feels like it is going to explode.

Today in London it was 41 degrees and rainy. It was by far the coldest day I can think of yet since this season started. I snapped this photo at the boys' school. It reminds me of a xylophone toy I had when I was a little girl. I was drawn to the red, yellow and blue planks of this picnic table on the playground. But in typical London fashion in these winter months it was covered with rain droplets....actually it was soaked clean through. I am glad that I got this image because it really captures how wet it can be here. Hope you all like it.


Window Boxes

quaint [kweynt]
having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque: a quaint old house.

What a perfect definition for what my eyes were observing while on yet another walk today. I am very fond of the architecture around my neighborhood so I often am looking upward as I secure my camera in my pocket keeping it close. Even though the weather was quite chilly today...there were a few people were filling their window boxes with plants and flowers. Just adding to the warmth of the narrow streets and the winding footpaths that surround us. I was thinking back to last summer. I had been walking to a shop close by and a woman was potting beautiful African Violets outside her window. As I passed she said hello and I gave a quick hello back and a wave. I remember thinking what that did for my outlook that day. It was a very neighborly moment and it made my day a bit brighter.

I took this image because I liked the look of all the elements together. If you took out any one of them the whole picture would change. The unique brickwork alongside the pretty white window frame, the old curtains, the potted plants and that vivid blue sky that has been hanging around here for the last few days just made me stop.

It was a good day.


The Hill Life

When John and I were first looking at homes on the Hill we went exploring late at night. All the shops and restaurants were closed on the High Street and there wasn't another person in sight. That was a chilly November night in 2005 and the wind was quite blustery. As we walked along the street all we could hear were the sounds of the business signs swinging as they hung from their metal rods off the storefronts. They were blowing in the wind and you could hear the squeaking as the metals rubbed against eachother. It all reminded me of a movie scene from long ago. There is a village atmosphere that makes you feel like you are home whether you have visited once or have lived your life in this area. It embodies the word quaint. We could easily imagine our life here...

The High Street runs through Harrow School property. This all boys' school has been on this Hill for over 400 years. I took this photo of our post office earlier. It is also a corner market where you can find your magazines, groceries and some other necessities. It is the hub of activity in the center of our neighborhood. There is also a couple of restaurants, an inn, an antique store, a real estate business, church, a salon and a florist. All within a few seconds walk from eachother. There is something very heartfelt and warm about waving to the people in the shops as you stroll along the street. After a year here they know us and our kids and look for us each day. What else do we need?

I have liked this sign since that late night in 2005 and today I was mesmerized by the sky behind it.


A Day for Me

Today was the last day that all the kids will be in formal school here. Sadie's last day was today and next Friday is the last day for the boys'. After that we are homeschooling. I am looking forward to this next chapter starting with the kids. I am also a bit nervous. That being said I have been looking forward this day of mindless wandering all by myself. When I go into the city here it is like being on vacation. It is exhilarating and vibrant! The perfect remedy for a tired wife and a mom of three.

I took this picture as I came out from the Underground in Trafalgar Square to start my day. I was so excited as I breathed in the cold, brisk, city air. And after days of high gusty winds (you may have heard about it on the news) the skies were perfectly blue with white clouds scattered throughout. Breathtaking. Another treat was getting to meet up with a new friend for lunch. It wouldn't be a real day away without a bit of fellowship and I really enjoyed myself...no schedule, no worries and good conversation. The first word that comes to mind to describe this photo is anticipation. I was feeling that as I walked up these steps and looked up.

What a wonderful day...


Like A Child

What makes your heart seem exceptionally peaceful? Me? I love seeing glimpses of my children savoring moments.

Our youngest son Sam has never had to be pryed out of a shell. When he entered this world and was ready to get busy living and hasn't stopped since. And believe me...that helps when you pick up and move to another country. He has been such a joy for his dad and me to watch over the years. The way my kids have delved into life here has been a lesson for me and I learn from them everyday. It isn't easy making new friends in a new place and adapting to so many cultures that are different from your own. They squeeze joy out of anything they can. All three have had some difficult times, but overall they make it seem so effortless. Those are gifts that are so evident in children. It reminds of how I need to be more...more like a child. I named this post after one of my favorite songs by Jars of Clay. Definitely listen to it if you haven't heard it already. It speaks about having the faith of children in the midst of life and all that life brings.

This afternoon Sam invited a friend home from school to play. I snapped this as we walked home. London had wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour and here Sam is pointing out to his friend the damage that he is seeing as they walk along the path. It looks like he is giving a tour. I enjoyed hearing them exchange...Sam with his southern, Virginia accent and his friend with a British Asian accent. So cute. Audio on this post would have been nice so you could hear them.


L is for Learner

This is the rather large sticker that the government puts on the back of your car indicating you are a driving LEARNER. The idea that I might have one of these on my car makes me want to never drive in this country! Driving in the UK is not what this post is about...so I will get on with it.

I snapped this picture today because everytime I see this sign, I think I need one on my forehead! This past year has been all about learning for our entire family. From grocery shopping, driving and schools to much more basic things like running the dishwasher and doing a load of laundry. Every aspect here has been a learning experience. Some more frustrating than others. Through trial, error and above all grace, we are doing fine. I am amazed at how we are learning together as a family to adapt to our life here...day after day, week after week, month after month. And now we have been here a year...that went fast!

I guess being a LEARNER isn't so bad afterall. What have you been learning lately?



I started posting photographs here five months ago today. Since then daily I seek out something to share with you all through my eyes. As I took a long walk today there was much to see. It was a nice chance for me to reconnect with my surroundings after not feeling my best the last day or so. I have found that I can search and search and the best pictures are often right under my nose. That reminds me that simplicity is so alluring. I snapped this picture of the fence at the bottom of the hill where we live. It isn't a sturdy, black iron or an interesting chainlink. It is just a plain wood fence. Pretty interesting when you add the blocks of concrete sidewalk and the shadows.


Blue Skies Again

I am posting two shots today. After weeks of grey skies here, today was one of only a few for the sun to come out and the sky to show some blue. Just what I am needing because I am not feeling well. Unfortunately, as I am writing this the clouds have already rolled in again. Several homes in our neighborhood have the old seeded glass windows. I find myself studying them often as I walk. I walked by this one today and while it isn't seeded glass, I got a glimpse of the blue and stopped to look at it while taking shots from a few different angles. If you look closely you will see the reflection of the phone lines that I have written about before.

The shot below is a familiar one. A fellow blogger Carmi asked his readers a question about revisiting subjects and asked if we ever like to do that when taking pcitures. A few days ago I posted Life Lines...it was a cloudy, wet day when I got that picture. Several of you commented that you thought it was a tent until you read further in my post. Today I went back to the same spot under clear skies and this is what I saw. I love to see the differences in how each makes me feel.

Please stop by Carmi's blog and tell him I sent you! I know you will enjoy his blog too! www.writteninc.blogspot.com


Old & New

Three chimneys...three cable antennas. This just cracked me up when I walked by today. A period chimney on a house that dates back to the Georgian times (sometime between 1714 to 1830), with a bunch of technology attached to it. I found myself a bit sad and it made me think of how surroundings change over time with everyone trying to catch up constantly. That being said, it was interesting enough to garner a picture!

What do you think...do you find yourself trying to catch up with the times?


How do you define yours?

I saw this movie last night with a friend and I have been thinking about it since. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend that you do so. It is wonderful and worth the ticket price! It is a touching true story of a Chris Gardner and his young son Christopher. They are forced to be in shelters and on the streets as the father takes risk after risk to provide a life for his son despite the incredible odds. They are in desperate conditions as they cling to eachother and the idea that their circumstances will be overcome. It is quite moving. Please go if you haven't already seen it. Oh...and take a box of Kleenex!

By the way, my pic of the day is being posted a bit later but I wanted to put this up. Be sure to come back!


Life Lines

I love these phone poles in our neighborhood. It is a great visual in seeing how we are all connected.

The phone lines above ground look very old fashioned as does much of our neighborhood but I can testify they definitely work! I can make a call home and immediately feel just down the road from my friends and family thousands of miles and an ocean away. The ease of communicating these days is a wonder to me. Between phone, internet and webcam there are days when the world seems very small. This has been such a treat for my family and me this past year in our adjustments to living in a new country. My children can talk, hear and see their family, which has made possible some balance that I never really thought they could sustain here. For instance, when Sam lost his top, front tooth, when Sadie got a new haircut and Jack drew another detailed picture...they were sharing that with their grandparents on the webcam. These are treasured memories we are having thanks to the way the world is corresponding.

It would only be a guess on my part as to how old the poles and lines actually are in this shot. They are interesting to me and therefore I will share them with you. As always...it is the lines that I can't get enough of in my photos. Hope you like it.


Enough said...or is it?

What a naive young blogger I am! You learn something new everyday...

I am finally putting together all the pieces and realizing that this is National De-Lurking Week. What is that you might ask? Well, it is the week of the year that all of you who are visiting my site and not commenting get a chance to stop lurking and give those fingers a workout by letting me know you visited. From the numbers I see tracking my blog hits I know that you all are out there! You know who you are! Some of you are friends and family, some have happened by and have come back again. Let me know what your favorite pic has been on my post or anything random that you might want me to know. I am looking forward to hearing from you...

Come out, Come out...wherever you are!


As I ran my hand across this course and rugged wall this afternoon, I realized that after a year away from home, I too have felt a bit weathered. It is inevitable no matter where you are planted in the world that life sets in...and you need to bloom regardless. That is what we are called to do by our loving Creator...live life and live it well for Him.

This old brick wall is weathered by climate and time. And while the wall is dingy and cracked, it is still a strong wall. That goes for me as well...actually it goes for all of us. You can be weathered but still strong inside. Seems to me that all this wall needs is some TLC to brighten it up. I am finding lately that I am experiencing a renewal of sorts. A renewal of faith, purpose and strength. I am looking forward to this year and what it might hold.

Are you having any sense of renewal these days? How?


Popcorn and Milk Duds

I love MINI's. Above you will see the vintage MINI style and below is the newest style. I see a ton of both styles here everyday. One of my favorite movies is The Italian Job remake starring Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland, Ed Norton and Charlize Theron. When I moved here to London I finally saw the original with Michael Caine and I liked that one as well. The MINI's in both movies steal the show with some great chase scenes and are like a lead character all by themselves.

Why popcorn and Milk Duds you might ask? I usually can't do a movie without popcorn and "duds"...(let me give a shout out to my big sis...miss you) Unfortunately in England there are no Milk Duds...which stinks. Oh well. Today when I saw the green MINI, I nervously got the picture (aware that I was photographing somebodys car). A situation like that can get tricky at times when you really want THAT one shot...and you know you are going to get it. :)

The pictures remind me of three things...my favorite movie, popcorn and Milk Duds. Do you have any favorites that you like at the movies?


It's not what you think...

No, I am not lazy. The need to be creative has NOT gone away overnight. Indeed, you have seen this view before. What a difference a day can make. Notice my blog from yesterday titled Curious Contrasts. I took that photo and posted it. Simple. Today I took almost the same angle for you. I wanted you to get a good feeling for how the days change on a dime here. Yesterday the sky was a dreary gray and today it was a crisp, cool blue. The best part is each of these snapshots gives me a completely different vibe. How about those Curious Contrasts? Very cool I think.


Curious Contrasts

Another neighborhood view. There is nothing special about this photo other than the fact that I really like it. What am I saying? That makes it special! What visually invited me to take this picture was the curves from the window next to the straight lines in the lantern. Add in the white building, black iron in the post and that familiar grey, English sky as a backdrop and you have one captivating shot. There is a lot to look at here that is very pleasing to the eye...at least mine. I hope you like it too.


My Chariot Awaits...

I have mentioned before that I have this thing with lines in pictures...my eyes are drawn to them. I went to lunch today with a friend and got this shot as I looked over the bridge just down from our home of the train leaving the station on its way into central London. It doesn't seem like it in this photo but the train is going away from the camera.

I have never lived in a large, urban city. In the States, most families have 2 cars...here we are a one car family. London has eight million people and the tube (train) is by far the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to travel. It's a fun way to get around and I have really gotten the hang of it. Not having to worry about driving, parking or gas (especially at $8 a gallon) has been a huge selling point for me in learning how to decipher tube lines, schedules and maps. The kids are picking it all up pretty quickly too which is neat to watch.


Missing Christmas

It hasn't even been a month but I am missing the sights, smells and fellowship of the season already (funny, I was first in line to get rid of my Christmas tree this year). That's OK, only 335 more days to go! :) This morning on our way out of church, this holly plant winding its way around a vine caught my eye. The bright red berries and the vibrant green leaves stood out from the old, grey stone church facade and the dull winter foliage all around. I immediately had visions of sugarplums. Are any of you missing anything about your holiday season?


Time to Breathe Easy

The sign is ready...Lord willing, the community will follow.

ASHA means HOPE.

Some of you already know, one aspect of my husband's job here in London is to work with Asha Charities. Asha has been operating a charity shop in a London suburb near Heathrow Airport for 6 years now, and it has been a wonderful presence in the community it serves. John was given the job of helping establish and run a second Asha Shop up here in our neighborhood. Finally, after months of searching for a location, negotiating a lease, doing lots interior repairs and painting, and finally merchandising the shop...Asha #2 officially opened yesterday for business.

I snapped these pictures today when the boys and I stopped by on a rainy Saturday to visit John as he worked. He is managing the new shop, so I'm sure we'll end up visiting, volunteering, and otherwise hanging out there a lot in the months to come. I was so glad that I could document these days with pictures. It was very exciting for everyone here. I haven't posted more than one picture on a day since I started this blog but I will make an exception today. Enjoy!

Proceeds from the Asha Charity Shops goes to projects and agencies in and throughout India.

A shot of the donated punjabi suits in their splendid colors!

The boys lending their dad a little support today. I think he will be recruiting them to work.

Thanks for all your continued prayer for our family. We are grateful for all of you.


Vivid Preparations...

Today was a day of preparing. Three weeks and counting until my children wake up and start school in their own home. There is lots to be done. Starting small, I decided to tackle our supplies of pens, pencils and alike this afternoon. The task was getting them out, sharpening and organizing them. Isn't there something about school supplies? I am not sure if both boys and girls are like this, but I have clear memories of loving to open a new box of crayons or a fresh pack of paper. I can still smell it. With that comes the hopes of what another school year might bring (no matter how it ended). I wasn't an exceptional student...but I always wanted to be. Maybe I can still be one when I grow up. I had these same feelings today as I looked at these pencils which I sharpened for the kids. I was excited about the journey we are taking together. I was imagining Jack (my artist) who will be beside himself when he sees a pail full of newly sharpened colored pencils. I cannot wait to see the things he will create!

I really like this shot I got today. No doubt I will reshoot this when my drowned NIKON D50 is replaced with a better model! No high resolution on my temporary point and shoot. Please bear with me. For those of you who are new to my blog go to the archives to the right, look under a November post called RIP and find out what happened to my camera.


Care Package

We don't get a lot of mail here so it was special today when we got a package at our door from our friends Tim and Lon from the States. I have written before about the things we miss from the States and this package had all of it. There were boxes of Hersheys chocolates, JIF peanut butter and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I am writing all the brand names because it clearly makes a difference...those are the best! The kids were so happy to go through it after school. I am definitely considering putting them on a chocolate schedule for there own good (that was added for the grandparents). We are so thankful for our friends and how they continue to take care of us even from an ocean away. What a blessing.


Back to Basics

Why do we forget the basics? Wait, I guess I will just speak for myself. Since I have been far from home in this life we have felt called into, somedays I have felt spiritually dried up, like I have lost my way. I have questioned the Lord, thinking that He must have made some sort of mistake with me. The ways of the flesh are so detrimental to our relationship with Christ. The fact of the matter is this...the Lord doesn't make mistakes. This is a photo of my bible from this morning. In my pursuit to choose joy daily, I started the Beth Moore online bible study "Believing God". For anyone who has not been in one of her studies, I highly recommend it. It was wonderful to have her lead me through Gods word. She has a true love for women and bringing them to scripture. She gave her viewers what she named the Five Statement Pledge of Faith. These are five things to remember and believe as you go throughout your day. I thought I would share these with you because each one touched me today.

1. God is who He says He is.
2. God can do whatever He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. Gods word is alive and active in me.

Do any of these speak to you? I would love to hear what you think.


Got Light?

Unfortunately, they dont have a Target store here....in Europe, they have IKEA. I am not sure what possessed us to go on a Tuesday night after everyone is off work because it was a madhouse! I will set the stage for you. The cart is actually holding me up because I am so tired of walking around that incredibly BIG store. My husband has a list. THAT, in and of itself is scary. Usually the roles are reversed in these situations and I find him sitting in some demo living room watching a fake TV and talking to himself. He is getting ready to open a charity shop here in London and has to get some finishing touches. I think I lost my will to live some where around aisle 80. As I was looking up to pray that we could get out of there...I saw these light bulbs hanging from a display and I liked the way they looked. I love when you can find redeeming qualities in unexpected places.


American as...applesauce?

One of the things my kids miss from the States is applesauce. I am sure that probably sounds silly but it is funny what you will miss when you can't find it easily. There is a place here that sells MOTTS applesauce. I have posted before about the Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill. A small jar of applesauce runs you about 4 pounds (that is $8 a jar). Not that affordable on an American salary, not to mention the cost to get there. So when I saw my large bowl of apples yesterday, I thought I would try making homemade applesauce for our New Years Day dinner. I have never made it before but I have to tell you...it was easy. Apples, sugar, water and cinnamon...that is all I needed. The finished product was much better than anything I could get from a jar...and my house smelled wonderful! On the first day of 2007, I taught myself something new and my kids were thrilled to have one of their favorite treats! Sometimes it's all about getting joy from the small things. I snapped this pic just before the peeling and slicing began early this morning.