Tea and Sorts

One of my all time favourite things to do is to have a proper afternoon tea somewhere, with my daughter Melody. We have done simple traditional ones, special ones, in beautiful locations, or just in a farm shop.

It’s exciting to see what will be served, ensuring our typical dietary requirements can be met. The joy we feel leading up to the event, trying to decide what teas to try, thinking about the cakes that will be served and what the ambience will be like.

Yesterday we had the pleasure to have an afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor, the former house of the Rothschild family. The house on the outside looks like a country castle in France! So beautiful. The inside is very opulent, and dark. Still, we were looking forward to our lovely cup of tea!

Often the cakes are the highlight, we were surprised as this time the savoury won! Lovely little goats cheese/spinach tarts, little smoked pieces of fish… all just delicious! As we had our tea late, we were the only ones left in the non descriptive room they use for this treat.

We will not likely go back to have tea there, but we can certainly say we have had tea at a Manor House!

Jesus loved to socialise around food too. He ate with people, associated himself with people. His first encounter to start His ministry was a wedding with food and drink! In the book of Luke are 10 stories of Jesus eating with people! He knew it’s was the perfect opportunity to learn more through friendship, learning about who He is.

John 6:35 ‘I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry , and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty’

Maybe that’s why I like having an afternoon tea so much. It’s an opportunity to share, talk about God and life, and reset our relationship.

Many Rooms

Arundel was the destination today..a beautiful large castle in the South Downs, in a picturesque little village. It’s the home of the Duke of Norfolk, and maybe I just envy his home!

The entry way to the main castle is a lawn, with a rose garden to the side. The sights of such impressive castle fills me with awe!

We were free to roam around with our golden pass, exploring all the rooms open to the public.

The first building to view was the Keep, dating back to 1067. Just unbelievable to think about all the historical scenes this castle has witnessed. Some of the scenes were shown in the rooms.

The newer part of the castle is still used today. The bedrooms had their beds made, the table was set, and the library looked very inviting to curl up, read and forget about the time.

The gardens were immaculate, and we just enjoyed looking around. The chapel, veggie gardens… you can see this is all cared for!

Here are some fun facts I found about the castle: the Dukes of Norfolk have lived in the castle for 800 years. The current Duke is the 18th one. It’s one of the oldest inhabited castle in the UK. It has doubled as a film location for Windsor Castle. There are 198 bedrooms in the castle. The grounds of the castle is over 40 acres.

Huge!

When Jesus was asked about the home being prepared for us in heaven, he answered: ‘in my house are many rooms. Would I have told you I am going to prepare a place for you if that was not so?’ (John 14:2) That passage comes to mind while walking through such a large beautiful castle. All the grandeur impressed me a lot. How much more will I enjoy being Home?

In this castle there were many areas that were private. However, in Gods much larger home I can visit everywhere I want to. I am very much looking forward to viewing that home too. And I hope you are too! He is making a place for you and me to be with Him. Do you want to live in that home?

Seven Sisters

To go away for a couple days to the seaside is about as lovely as it gets. The destination is the south coast, East Sussex to be precise. We picked up a little Motorhome yesterday and set off, looking for a spot to park the van next to the sea.

We managed to find an area where we could hear the sea.. and see it if we stretched a little. Beds were made and the first night started.

Unfortunately we woke up to nice British weather… rain..

But not to worry.. we packed up, had breakfast and coffee at McDonalds and set off to an area just west of Eastbourne, in the Southdown National park. I had heard a lot about that area, it has an area called ‘Beachy Head’ with a National Trust owned piece of Land. The sun made an appearance soon and the whole area just looked so pretty!

The coastline there is known for its white chalk cliffs, called Seven Sisters. A typical British view.

We decided to have a short cliff walk to see the famous lighthouse beneath the rock, but it was just so windy!

We soon set off to find a campsite for the night, not far from Eastbourne.. next to a pebble beach… shelling is one of our favourite activities, so off we went.. finding lovely different kinds of shells. It’s now fully sunny and it feels like holiday!

We are off, to make food and relax for the evening. Tomorrow is another day for new adventures. I like exploring! So don’t mind me :o)

State Fair

A country fair in England is probably the closest to how I can describe a state fair. Showcasing the best and brightest a US state has to offer. Apparently Minnesota is one of the largest State Fairs in the country.

And so being here in the US at the time of the fair it’s almost a given to go! A group of colleague friends and me went….

The first section we happen to walk through is the animal section.. in fact, we did not wander too many other places but stayed close to the Animal barns.

It’s so interesting to see.. goats are being pimped, washed, groomed.. pigs walk on a leash… people take great pride showcasing their breeds.

The horses though are my favourite… the horse and carts were just amazing to see. The way the horses are dressed up and walk so graciously! The owners look proud for a reason!

Combine that with all the sounds, smells and foods.. it’s an overwhelming attack on the senses:

I had a delicious pecan roll for dinner, washed down with lemonade. Not sure I want to know the amount of calories I consumed!

You seem to be able to get just about anything on a stick. Fried banana split, fried olives, fried mash, fried pickles….

Fries come in huge buckets, as do cookies… I guess to be shared, but who is going to say something if you eat it all alone?

People watching is probably my favourite activity. Dressed up, dressed down, having fun. I was glad to be able to hang out at the fair for a few hours and sample the atmosphere.

This event makes me reflect on those times in Jesus life where large groups gathered around Him, hungry for what He had to share. He gave them food, when they were hungry. However, when He wanted to talk to His Father, he sought solitude, being away from people.

I think I feel not to different. A few hours at the fair and I am ready for a day of rest, reflecting on other things!

How has your week been? Are you also happy with this day of rest, to reflect back on that which is important?

Relax, He’s got this

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is something about flowers that relax me. Flowers in the garden, flowers in a vase, visiting a national garden etc. Not that I am any good at keeping flowers beautiful in my own garden! But the variety of species, the intriguing designs, such a reflection of our Creator!

One of my absolute favourite past times is to visit lavender fields. The colour is beautiful, the smell is lovely, the vastness amazing! Below a small selection of photos from my most recent visit @hitchin.

When you look at their intricate design you can’t do anything but marvel at the beauty, and thank the Designer for thinking of all this. It reminds me of a verse out of the sermon on the mount (Matt 6:28-31)

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?

Flowers can not care for themselves. They are beautiful, and dress up the environment they are in. We can learn from this that we do not need to be anxious about our matters. God will take care of us as He is taking care of the flowers.

What a comforting thought when worry is often so much more natural than trust in God.

He’s got this!

Flowers remind me of that, as I am a natural worrier. Maybe that’s why I love being surrounded by flowers!

 

Shoes

It’s funny, how shoes just always spark discussions…. too many shoes, do you really need more shoes? You already have shoes like that…

Shoes… I have to admit, I have a fair few of them… not counting boots and flip flop… a girl just needs all kinds!

What about men? It’s no longer true they make do with one pair! Or maybe 2, for work and going out…. trainers, shoes, sandals… all kinds…

Am sure we will discuss the topic of shoes 100s more times… it never fails to spark heated exchanges….

In the mean time… am going to buy me another pair… after all, I am 5000 miles away.. what’s he going to say after he bought shoes today?????

Quiet Time

We have been quiet on here… sometimes life just absorbs us so much, there is no time to stop and smell the roses….

It’s not a good thing! To feel you are being lived, instead of living. To feel you are rushed, instead of being able to take time to reflect on the little things. To worry, instead of remembering that even if the little birds don’t know where they will get their food from, they know they have a Heavenly Father who takes care of them.

The whole family has been very busy. But I want to share how super proud I am of my daughter. She has been working hard to get our Etsy shop updated (hope you are taking a moment to check it out right here on our blog, the tab marked Etsy), and has been finding opportunities to have a stall at various events to sell our handmade shawls and blankets. To build up a business like this takes time, and is very slow going. But she is sticking with it and I am not apologising for promoting this!

She is learning valuable skills, like patience… something I struggle with on a daily basis.

I am just trying to remember to stop once in a while and lookup and around me, to see the beauty nature has to offer me, and to remember that I have a Heavenly Father who longs to spend time with me, as much as I do with Him.

Below some snaps of some precious moments in nature where His voice is the loudest. Hope you are also able to take these moments of rest, quiet time, and find time to recognise those around you that make you proud!

 

 

Unselfishness

What a title!! To be unselfish… to put other needs before yours? To think of someone else more than yourself?

For sure ‘unself’ is not self… not seeking something for yourself..

I am wrestling with that verb. To be unselfish. Do I not count? Do my wishes and needs not count?

Jesus said in the Bible in Matt 22:39 that we have to love our neighbour as ourselves. He said it’s the second most important commandment. The first one being to Love God above all else. The new English translation says it as follows: And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” It almost seems contradictory to the verb of unselfishness.. we are tasked to love others as ourselves and we are to be unselfish.

I recently read an article, where being unselfish was quite nicely summarised:

Unselfish love is not about giving up what you want; it is about accepting and encouraging your partner’s desires and dreams as much as they do yours.

That’s what I want to be known as.. someone who is not selfish but seeks the others success as much as my own. That’s the kind of boss I want to be, the kind of friend, the kind of mother etc.There is this song from Amy Grant: My fathers eyes (https://youtu.be/D9L1ODcaE-k)

The words are like this:

I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that’s all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,

She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
Just like my father’s eyes.

To me, that’s unselfishness… and I hope that’s shining through in my life.What about you?

58119408516__e53aefd0-d5e9-448c-9f67-7cd0634c0ada-1

 

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

So here I am…7 months after my operation (check out the ‘Living with a hidden (not so hidden) illness’ series if you aren’t sure what I am on about) and I am finally back on track. I am able to walk more than 50 metres without being out of breath…well unless I am walking with my mum, who runs more than walks!

We just had a bank holiday this past weekend in the UK and we thought we’d use the time to go and climb Pen Y Fan in south Wales. So after dropping mum off at the airport, who unfortunately had to go back to America for work, and off we went to Cardiff where we spent the night.

Following a filling and hearty breakfast and coffee at the ready, we drove into the Brecon Beacons and before I knew it…we were at the base of Pen Y Fan. From the road we could see how busy it was and it really didn’t look like it was much of a climb. Boy was I wrong.

Almost as soon as we started the ascent, I was already out of breath!!! However, after many breaks on the way up, we made it to the top of Pen Y Fan (886m) in just over 2 hours. We then also climbed Corn Du (873m) before a steep descent down a different route. We were so insanely lucky with the weather and somehow avoided the rain.

This might not seem like a huge feat, and the mountain really wasn’t that high, but for me this was huge. This was the first real challenge I’d had since my surgery. Finally having two lungs I could use to breathe and no pressure on my spine, definitely helped. Yes I was still very much out of breath and it took me a longer than I’d hoped but I made it!

Hiking will never be one of my favourite things to do but getting to the top, I couldn’t help but feel proud and happy of my achievements. It is also the first step on a long journey. Dad and I have challenged ourselves to climb either Mount Kilimanjaro or to do the Base Camp trek of Everest in 2020. So keep an eye out for our other climbs and adventures!!

What about you? What is your favourite mountain to climb? What has been your proudest moment this year so far?

From Ferry to Fairy

Ok… maybe I borrowed the title from someone else… but it sums up this last weekend so nicely…. Melody and I made another trip to the land of magic and happy endings! We took the ferry over on Friday afternoon with a nice calm sea and the beautiful white cliffs of Dover behind us.

White Cliffs of Dover

We knew we would have a full day at Disney the following day, so we didn’t mind the fact that we would be arriving late in the evening at the hotel. We had also stopped off at a supermarket along the way to get some provisions for the weekend, but nothing quite beats an early morning cup of coffee!

Morning Coffee

I don’t actually like rides as my stomach is very sensitive and I easily get motion sick, but I love do love watching all the different types of people. Plus going on the fairytale rides such as ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘Peter Pans’ Flight’. We were also insanely lucky as the weather was beautiful. We were glad we didn’t listen to the weather forecast, which had suggested rain, thunderstorms and cold temperatures.

Taking Instagram pictures at the different ‘walls of Disney’ and seeing all the different characters are all part of the fun that makes up a day at Disneyland Paris.

We love going on the water rides such as ‘Thunder Mesa’ and the fairytale boats…did I mention we were so lucky with the weather?

The traditional cookie and castle pictures have to be taken…no matter how many times we visit, these are traditions that will always be kept…

The day finished for us with the ‘Disney Stars on Parade’. We didn’t stay for the fireworks spectacle, as in the summer months they are at 11pm! This time however, we just wanted to get some food and put our feet up!! We had walked around and stood for hours! The burning sensation reminding us of every step we took.

Sunday was always going to be a quick visit before heading back to the ferry… the weather really turned, which was forecasted, but we managed to have some sunshine before the looming thunderstorm hit! So a quick walk around Walt Disney Studios to see the Marvel characters as it was the Marvel season…. give me fairytales and happy endings over Marvel anytime though!

When it was time to hit the road, the thunderstorm was overhead and so we decided to leave a little earlier than planned, just in case. We attempted to avoid the many potholes on the road and make it back to the ferry in time.

We will see you again soon Disney! I can’t get enough of all the magic! It really is the happiest place on earth!