Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful…

I am a day late writing my “Thankful” post for this year. But, I figure “Black Friday” is just dawning in Los Angeles (although according to Facebook, WAY too many of you are already awake and shopping!) so I’m good to go.

Wow, what a year. Went back and read my post from last year. While what I am thankful for has not changed much, I have definitely added some new ones, and am also experiencing a new depth of thankfulness for others.

So here we go…

I am thankful for my God, my Savior, whose faithfulness continues to astound me to no end. I did not want come to Scotland. Didn’t want to fly across the ocean with two toddlers, didn’t want to leave home and the familiar. I really didn’t want to come here, get pregnant, lose the baby, hemorrhage, end up in the hospital, and become “profoundly anemic.” But His faithfulness has met me in the darkest moments, even already growing an appreciation in my heart for all He is doing through it and teaching us because of it. Amazing. faithful

I am thankful for my husband. Deeply, truly thankful. We just celebrated six years of marriage this past week. Every year we ask each other two questions- 1. What is one we have done well in our marriage this past year? and 2. What is one thing I can do to love you better in this coming year? Honestly, in years past, this conversation has turned into a fight, where hurts and disappointments have reared their ugly heads. This year, though, it was a sweet, thoughtful conversation about how we’re growing and learning in our marriage. Our pastor at home is known to say, “Marriage…it is truly a mystery.” He’s right. It really is. It is not what I thought I was signing up for. It is different, but as we remain committed to pressing in and being in it for the long haul, it is SO MUCH MORE. DSC_1750

I am thankful for my two sons. I could write a whole book here about how their little lives have changed mine, how I can’t remember sometimes what is was like to NOT be their mommy, how their voices and laughs can brighten up any day, how much I see God’s faithfulness in their lives….I could go on and on. It will suffice to say I am thankful for the opportunity to be their mommy and for every second I spend with them, even if some of them totally exhaust me!

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I am thankful for my family. So thankful. I will have to break this one into subcategories:

-I am thankful for my parents (my Mom and Dad and Dan’s as well). They have all supported us SO much on this journey of Dan’s schooling (that is so gloriously close to finishing!!). I cannot even begin to express how they helped us- with their time, their money, their energy, etc. My heart is filled to the brim with gratefulness for their practical outpouring of love to our little family!! DSC_3273 IMG_4358 IMGP0030-2

-I am thankful for my brothers, my sisters-in law, my brother-in-law, and Stephanie (she has her own category, of just being STEPHANIE!). I am so blessed to have sibling type people who are wonderful and amazing. I am particularly thankful this year for Sam and Andrea and the blessing of living near them for this time in Scotland. I cannot even begin to express how much I love walking around the corner and running into Sam, or stopping in to see Andrea at the coffee shop she works at. I love sharing meals, lives, child care duty..I love it all!!!

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(this pic of them just makes me laugh!!)

-I am thankful for friends, new and old. I seriously am SO blessed by such amazing people in my life!!! I’ll just post a few.

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(Hannah is wearing my sweatshirt in this one, a common Hannah thing to do. She is ALWAYS cold. Love ya, Han!!)DSC_0055

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(I’m including the one above cause I’m blessed by my friendship with Steph, even though she’s a sibling-type, and my mom, even though she’s…well, my mom!!)

(I realized doing this there are people I just don’t have pictures of! Time to take some once we’re home!)

-And, last but not leas t, I am thankful for Scotland and everything we have experienced here- for the new friends, for the beautiful scenery, for the time as a little family, for a wonderful church to attend.  But also I’m thankful for the opportunity to go home soon, and squeeze everyone so tight.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Edinburgh

Our last day with Oma and Opa was spent in Edinburgh, taking in the sites. We had a fabulous time, even though it was SUPER cold and windy.

Now you have to remember we live in a VERY small town of less than 1000 people here in Scotland. And St. Andrews, while it is much larger, is not BIG by any means. So heading into Edinburgh, the “big city”, was a big event. As the bus pulled into the city, Dan said, “Honey, look to your right.” What was he wanting me to see? A Starbucks. Starbucks is not an uncommon site for us, we have one in St. Andrews. I was very tired that day, having not slept well the night before. So I said, “Oh we gotta head back there when we get off the bus!” imagine my surprise when we got off the bus and there was ANOTHER Starbucks. Then we headed off to walk The Royal Mile and there were THREE MORE!!!! I said at one point in the day, “I’ve seen five Starbucks today. I’m HOME.” Ha ha ha.

Anyway, back to our regular scheduled programming…the castle. It was beautiful, and we had a great time exploring.

Check it out!

This is the front of the castle. And this shot turned out WAY cooler than I thought it would.

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This is a sculpture of a crowning of some king. Don’t remember who. I’m sure my husband or father-in-law will promptly respond with the correct answer!!crowning

Thought Dan looked like such a classic tourist in this shot, complete with his Starbucks bag. This is on the “Royal Mile”, which goes from the Palace, where the Royal Family stays when they’re in Scotland, to the Castle. We walked the whole thing twice and, let me tell you, I am sure it has the highest concentration of souvenir shops known to man!

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The view from outside the Castle at night, once they’d turned on the lights.

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From the top of the castle, looking out over Edinburghedifromcastle3

Another view from the Castle. edinburghfromcastle1

And another.

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This is what Eli thought of St. Margaret’s Chapel. This boy is hilarious. We have always been super intense about being home for nap time at home but here we’ve had to be more relaxed and have discovered Eli will fall asleep ANYWHERE once he’s tired enough! eliasleepatcastle

Another view from the Castle. It was beautiful so I took a lot of pictures!

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This is the outside of The Great Hall, I believe. greathall

Ok this one is a little out of place. This is the Palace, at the other end of the Royal Mile. Jayden was very excited that the Queen actually sleeps there!

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There was an amazing rainbow over the city while we were at the Castle. You can see one end of it here. My mother-in-law, Gayle, got one of the whole thing, I believe.

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St. Margaret’s Chapel had four stained glass windows. These are them. (Dan is obsessed with stained glass and has two tattoos that are copies of stained glass windows. For those who don’t know..)

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And here we are, in only our 2nd family picture since arriving here.

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Edinburgh Castle is famous for being SO beautiful once they turn the lights on it at night. They also have twinkle lights on some of the trees. Here they are. treeslitup

Once we walked down the hill and looked back at the Castle, it was too beautiful not to try to capture on film. This was my first attempt, and I accidentally left the flash on. If you click on it to see it bigger, you can see the Castle in the background. But I thought the winter trees turned out cool.

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And here is the best shot we could get, with both me and Dan trying. Remember, we didn’t have a tripod and its a LONG exposure to hold the camera steady for. The view was just INCREDIBLE though. The whole trip there was worth just that one view. It is famous for a reason!!!castleatnight

And that was Edinburgh! Amazing.

Held

This song by Natalie Grant is just incredible. I remember it being frequented on my iPod when we lost our first baby. And its back!! I have never, in my life, experienced God’s goodness and faithfulness so tangibly as I have in the past month or so.  I have been met with the compassion of virtual strangers, people who we have had to let into our hearts and lives. And we have been met in such an incredible way. People we’ve known a month or two, tearing up as we share our sad news. People genuinely asking how we are, and me feeling like they REALLY want to know. We are a blip on their radar. We’ll be gone in a month, but they are still willing to let us in, to be there for us, to show the love of Jesus. It has been incredible!!!

So the lyrics to the song are below. We have truly felt Held, as is the title of the song.

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling


Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
Were asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair


This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held


This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held


If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior


This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

 

The other cool thing about this song is that I have a few friends who have also suffered miscarriages or loss and this has ministered to them. I love it when God speaks through something so mightily!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bonkers

As I was going through these pictures, I was struck with feeling SO blessed to be a mommy to these little boys. Today is the one month anniversary of losing the baby (and, oddly enough, we leave our little home here in Scotland one month from today) and so I’ve been fighting some sadness. But to look at pictures of my sweet ones playing and having fun, it is hard not to just revel in God’s goodness and faithfulness. This life is full of loss, and full of change. Thank God its not our permanent home!! So enjoy the bays happy faces as they played at Bonkers (yes, pictured two other times on the blog since we got here!). happyJayden2 happyEli happyEli2 happyJayden

(aside note: the little boy behind Eli in the one shot was also named Jayden, and spelled exactly the same way)

The boys love jumping off this platform into the ball pit.

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I love Bonkers for a lot of reasons but one of the big ones I am picturing below. Its a brownie/bar thing made out of my favorite candy bar here, Crunchie. I told the girl who rung us up this time how much I love it and a few minutes later she brought out the recipe for me so I can try to make it at home. Ah, I LOVE small town life!!!

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I have promised the boys at least one more trip to Bonkers before we go home so I’m sure you’ll see one more post of the fun!! :)

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Oma and Opa (Dan’s parents) came to visit us this past week and a half. It was so much fun to have them here, and the boys of course love the extra love and attention. And extra hands with the kids…well, I love it too!! :) It was awesome to see them and show them around the sites here. One of the days we headed out to the Cathedral to check out the sites. The sun was actually shining and it was beautiful!! I snapped a few shots. cathedral4 cathedral1 cathedral2 cathedral3

The boys, of course, love any opportunity to get out and run. Thought this picture was awesome!

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And then some pictures of the water. So beautiful!!theshore2 theshore

More posts coming, so be on the lookout!! :)