Castles and Marshmallows

Today we entered Wales, always such a special feeling. Melody studied in Bangor and we made many a trip up there. This was the first time back since she finished 3 years ago.

I know it, I am a shopping addict… so first stop? Farm shop and Welsh food centre. I love it! The fresh fruits and veggies, the lovely breads, the sheepskins, cakes… with a smart car you have to be economical with stuff, but a little bara brith cake and a Welsh lovespoon at least did fit in the car!!!

The next item very high on my list… castles!!!! Bodelwyddan, Conwy and Penrhyn castles.. bygone eras and tales of knights and fair maidens… my imagination knows no bounds when I see the beautiful castle walls… don’t you hear the shouts of Ivanhoe?

Our stop for tonight is Llanfair Hall, a little glamping pod (www.llanfairhall.com) … when you camp, you have to have fire… and where there is fire… marshmallows!!! Melody is expert, mine just burn… those are the best though, with a little crust….

I never want to go back to England.. I am in love with Wales!

UK Roadtrip

As I sit here in the sunshine, am pondering the last couple days. Moving was stressful… what to throw, what to bring, what do we now have double… etc.. another thing that worried me was a car.. as I had moved to the US for a year we sold my little convertible.. and now the pressure was building to buy a little 2nd hand car.

I knew what I wanted, and although it took a little convincing for the rest of the family. They know I like shopping and it’s the smallest car ever… but I now had a little blue smart car waiting for me…

We took it out on sabbath, driving to London where Geert had to speak at an afternoon service…. I can make the car work…. yes, it’s tiny… but we will be fine…

Sunday morning Mel and I packed the car for a couple days camping in Wales.. the car is small!!! But we made it and are now sitting on a garden sofa, having a drink, and enjoying the sunshine… what will tomorrow bring? Destination Anglesey!!! My favourite area in Wales, and something I missed a lot… sea and tea with scones. Yum!

Exploring Cornwall

So as I mentioned in one of my previous blogs (Taking Time for Yourself), dad and I went on a little minibreak to Cornwall. The reason for this trip was that dad had been asked to play the drums at Live in a Field in Chapel Porth (a camp filled with worship and activities) and of course I would join. Who wouldn’t want to escape their everyday life to be beside the ocean for a couple days??

Thursday afternoon came and it was time to drive down…we were expecting awful traffic and a long journey, however, we had managed to beat the bank holiday traffic!! Before we knew it (and after a quick stop off at Mcdonalds) we had arrived in Cornwall. We had decided to rent an Airbnb near the campsite and found a cute flat in Porthtowan. The one downside was that we arrived in the dark and there is no phone signal in Porthtowan. So finding the flat was an adventure…but we managed to find it (a stone’s throw from the beach!) and we settled in and got an early night.

The next morning we woke to dense fog and thick cloud cover…not the weather you hope for when you’re going to the beach…however, I put my wellies on and dad put his trainers on and off we went for a morning walk on the beach. Porthtowan beach is gorgeous, if you ever find yourself in Cornwall, definitely go!! And if the weather is nice…treat yourself to some Cornish icecream from Moomaid of Zennor!! We went looking for shells and found none but did a quick beach clean whilst we were there. After a little exploration, we decided to head over to Trevaunance Cove which had been a favourite spot of ours for the last couple years. However, the beach cafe had been changed and didn’t have the same cosy feel that it had had over the last couple years. So after a quick coffee and a seal or two spotted, we went for another walk on the beach and explored some of the caves.

It soon became time for us to head over to Chapel Porth campsite for dad to drop off his drums and a quick catch up with some friends before heading over to St Ives for a spot of lunch and a quick wander around the beautiful town, and of course another ice cream! We then headed back to the camp for the evening worship and headed off for an early night.

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Saturday morning, dad headed back off for a pretty full day at the campsite. I had decided to take the day for myself and explored the coastal paths between Porthtowan and Chapel Porth. Dad met me halfway and we continued on exploring some of the ruins that Cornwall has to offer! That evening we had a lovely concert filled with Lily-Jo, Speak, Brother and Volney Morgan & New Ye. So no early night for us!

The next morning we were promised sunshine and it definitely came through!!! Blue sky and glorious sunshine! Nothing could beat that! So off we went for ice cream (that I mentioned above) and a quick walk up the coastal path to a viewpoint. After an hour of not spotting anything, we decided to have a quick bite to eat. Whilst eating, we saw the fog coming in and before we knew it…the view was gone! The fog was so thick that you couldn’t see far in front of you at all! So off to Starbucks for a coffee and then back to the camp.

That evening we had the last concert filled with Daughters of Davis and Philippa Hanna. Once that was done, we packed up dads drum kit and headed back to our normal lives. It was a whirlwind of a trip but one that was much needed.

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What do you like about minibreaks?  What do you like to do relax?

Also, check out or Cornwall 2018 Vlog for a more detailed look at what we got up to!!

Another Friday Rivercruise

About a year ago, Melody and I took a cruise down a part of the St Croix river, from Taylors Falls. A beautiful trip, I blogged about it previously and posted pictures.

I wanted to recreate that feeling of peace I had then, after busy days of preparing for the movers arrival next Monday. So I booked a river cruise on another part of the St Croix river. This time from Stillwater.

The weather forecast was showing rain, but when I arrived there were very little clouds in the sky and it was beautifully sunny. I could pick my spot as I was early… top deck near the front. I missed my chatterbox daughter… but the instant peace of being on the water was there…

There is nothing more calming to me than the sound of the water, with beautiful birds up in the sky. Especially my favourite in this part of the world… the bald eagle. Such majestic soaring over the waters…

It always reminds me of the sermon Geert preaches often.. the song of Moses in Deuteronomy, where he compares the father Eagle to our Heavenly Father. Soaring, watching, feeding, and there to catch us when we fall. Seeing these eagles puts things in perspective. He is in control…

‘When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the Storm. Father you are King over the flood, I will be still and know You are God…’

Enjoy the weekend, my soul is calm.

Deadwood & the Badlands

Driving down the motorway, you see lots of billboards. Everyone is advertising something, or giving some snippet of knowledge. I came across the below quote:

Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. John Muir

That’s truly what I feel like, having spend a couple days admiring Gods handiwork in nature.

Leaving the Rocky Mountains I did not think anything would top that beautiful scenery, see the pictures I shared in the previous post. We made our way slowly north east, towards Custer State Park and Deadwood. A little drive from the town of Deadwood we stumbled across Crazy Horse, the Indian sculpture in process. I could not remember this statue was so close to where we would stay the night… but now I felt we had to make a tiny detour and also see Mount Rushmore….evidence below…

Deadwood was not how I remembered it from a couple years ago. It was dead… only casinos livening up the atmosphere a little. Not really my scene. No music, no dancing, no re-enactments… clearly still winter season. At least the food was very good in one of the Steakhouses ‘ Legends’!

The next morning we needed to leave early to make it back to Minnesota at a decent hour. After all, I have to work again on Wednesday! We set off through the beautiful Black Hills and decided to stop at Wall. Probably a must do stop on the very long and straight I90. Also quiet, as it was not in the tourist season… but still, stretching the legs in beautiful sunshine was worth it!

Next unexpected detour: a drive through the South Dakota Badlands. Mesmerising, legends encouraging, beautiful scenery. A bonus to see long horn goats, mountain goats, deer and prairie dogs. So glad we took that small detour!

Have now arrived home, ready to sleep… a clean spirit as John Muir stated in the quote above.

America, you truly have such awe inspiring nature! I feel so blessed to have been able to see more. Below a few shots….

Road trip to Colorado

When I knew Geert would come to Minnesota one last time while I am still living there, I started thinking of where to spend a last couple days together. Packing is not everything after all, and he still has a few days to help me. We settled on a trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Realistically we would only spend one day there… yesterday.. but that’s ok since most of the park is still closed for the winter.

Yesterday was our Rocky Mountain National Park day… the Estes Park entry was open, so off we went. The scenery of the National Forest before you get to Estes Park is already stunning. We say the first couple Elks in Estes Park… just beautiful! After the entry fee of $20 was paid and a map was received we set of to explore all open roads. Below a selection of pictures.

The highlight was probably the coyote hunting on the plain. Very hard to spot due to its colours blending into the background of the fields… not sure if you are able to see in the pictures below… he was just running and playing as if there was no tomorrow. So cute!

The higher we drove, the more snow there was… plenty dead ends due to road closures… made me think on a beautiful day as yesterday…. if you feel like your road is closed, dead end… do you turn around and try another road? Or do you stay there waiting for the snow to melt to let you pass? Maybe something to ponder over as you flip through the pictures below…

On the way back to the hotel there was this beautiful sky, setting apart the white trees so vividly. I just could not stop taking pictures. As if God painted a picture just for me.

Today we will drive to Deadwood, South Dakota, so expect more cowboy pictures soon!

Snow 2

For the last couple days it has been snowing on and off. This morning I woke up to a lovely white world. Not that it was not white before… we have had snow since the end of December. But the snow had turned to ice, not powdery, and more various shades of grey than pure white.

Am not too much a fan of winter. I really do prefer sunshine… I love the sea… but I have to admit… a beautiful serene white world with beautiful blue skies is very pretty indeed.

I looked up a few quotes, wondering what other people make of snow. These are 2 of the most beautiful ones I read:

There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special’

‘Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together’

The Bible is also talking about snow.. it’s not so easy to imagine snow in Israel, although it can be cold in the mountains there (never been, on the bucket list.. but have been told) Yet is the perfect analogy. ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18)’

We can be white as snow… through the grace of God. His blood will cover our sins… He will wipe them out. We do have to accept it, but it’s a free gift.

Much like snow… a reminder of His grace…

Maybe I do love snow more than I think!

What about you?

10 Days, 11 States

Doing a road trip in America is a strange experience for a European. You can drive for days and not leave the country! Quite different from where I come from… a state is like a country.

In some states more time was spent than in others: Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and back in the Home state Minnesota.

What was the highlight of my trip? Spending time with family, especially those not often seen. It makes you realize how important connections are, and how special family time is!

The holiday is over, life returns to a sense of normality… the next event to look forward to is Thanksgiving. A moment of reflection on all the things and moments of the past year we can be thankful for. And after that Christmas, thanking God that He came to this world to show us how much He wants us to be with Him. And I get to spend the holiday with my own little family in England. Yay!

Snow

I have been silent on here, mostly because life just got in the way of taking time to write. Maybe that’s a good thing, to not be so connected to social media. It sure is not intentional to not keep you updated with our adventures.

Life can sometimes be so fast… You live from one day to the next, without taking time to breath… well, it’s Sabbath again, and taking time to breath is part of that plan of rest.

Geert had been following the weather updates and warned me it may snow on Friday…think he was secretly hoping it would start while he was still here, but sadly he had to leave to go back home to the UK.  Me? I am totally not ready for this colder weather. Only last week I was walking along the river with Geert in a t-shirt… now you need a jacket! It’s not the kind of snow that sticks to the ground… but the wet, slushy one. It sure does look pretty when it settles for a moment… but it quickly turned to wet, not so pretty slush… am sure all the pretty trees are now going to be bear… so I attach at least a few pictures from our sightseeing trip last Friday, chasing the colourful leaves…

So … Sabbath… rest…. the snowfall is inviting me to just stay in and to do just that…. rest…. have a good one!

Autumn

As I sit outside at Caribou, it’s hard to imagine we are already in October. Time is certainly flying by!

However, one thing has changed…(besides that Mel is in the UK for a couple weeks, to ensure Geert does not get lonely, and the cats don’t forget about her)… autumn is here!

I don’t know what it is about that season. I am more of a summer, beach kind of person. But something about this period in the year grabs me. Maybe it’s the last swan song of nature, showing their abundance of colour. Maybe it’s the promise of Christmas being around the corner, and all the coziness that goes with that. 

Or maybe it’s just that this season each time reminds me of Gods promise to us. No matter how rotten we feel, there will be new life.

For many this season brings despair, loneliness, falling leaves, depression. I sometimes get caught up in that too. I am a true worrier, and this season of the year I worry more. 

A day like today however, blue sky, too warm for jogging pants, beautiful autumn colours… I think I want to keep the Godly reminder in the forefront of my mind!
What about you?