Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Technical Difficulties..

EDIT: The slideshow has arrived - yaaaaaaay!

Well, I can't seem to get the slideshow up and I'm not smart enough to make it work yet :) Maybe tomorrow...

Let’s Play Catch-Up Part III

Well as history shows, I have a hard time making the transition back to life in Scotland when I’ve just been exposed to the many, many loved ones we are leaving back in the States. I ache to be a part of those lives in closer proximity, but the Lord has been so good to bless us in so many unexpected ways in those times of aching. BUT, you’ll all be proud of me – get ready – I only cried once! And it was on the first night back when I was super tired. So, that was my best yet I think. And, Ian and I believe that it is in large part, due to the fact that my brother came back with us to see where we live for a week. So it was a nice, slow transition to life as normal.

We took a chill pill on Friday after a looooooong trip back and just wandered around town a bit and enjoyed each other’s company (i.e. Ian and Mitch played trial versions of Warcraft… which, surprisingly, is a higher quality way to spend time than I originally thought, while I tried to clean and organize the stuff we brought back with us.. But they did help me eventually). Saturday we took a hike from Crail to Anstruther for the infamous fish and chips and managed to almost risk our lives merely to make the hike. It was the cows! They surrounded us! We’ve never seen cows on the coastal path, ever. We hiked up over a hill and found about 6 bulls (thankfully no horns) right in our way. So we thought if we just walked slowly towards them, they’d move. Unfortunately, they just kept walking right in front of us, giving us no way to escape. So, we ended up with them making a U shape around us and we thought we could sneak out the open end of the U, when all of a sudden another one comes up behind us – we have no idea where he came from… So we were surrounded.. And then one of them, very determinedly starts coming over to us to investigate the disruption.. so we decided it was time to skedaddle. We went out as far as we could toward the ocean side of the path and ran up an overgrown hill to get in front of them. Man those things are HUGE! I really feared for my life. They could totally plow me over or squish me without even making an effort.

Anyway… So we’re about half way through the 4.5 mile hike when it starts raining (Scottish rain, so more misty than droppy) and Mitchell says, “I really like Scottish rain because you don’t really get wet.” We found out none of us like it after a few hours of it, getting colder and colder and wetter and wetter with nowhere to stop until we get to the restaurant. But we got there and had some yummy fish and chips to help dry us out.

While Mitch was here, we did something else we’ve never done – an open top bus tour of St Andrews. It was good fun and informed us of some things we didn’t know about the history here. And it rained. Boooooo! But not very much.

I had to work the rest of the days he was here, but Ian took him around St Andrews (including hitting balls at the driving range!) and Edinburgh Mon, Tues, and Wed, and then Wed night we headed up to Arbroath to see a football match. It was Arbroath verses Dundee United’s reserve team (it’s pre season so there’s not a lot of options) and it was really fun. We got to sit in front of a few Dundee fans who were extremely vocal and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. They were hilarious, but I did kind of want to wash my ears after we left. I learned a new phrase though that I can do a great Scottish accent with. You’ll have to hear it in person :) It was a superfun experience, and hopefully, one of these years, Mitch will be able to come back during the regular season to enjoy a nice big match.

We had a great time together and are really thankful we had the week to spend with Mitchy boy.

Just two other things to note…
1) We had to say goodbye to our faithful blue suitcase. It just couldn’t handle another trip and came back to us with to veeeeeeery busted wheels, two missing zipper pulls, a large tear in the bottom (in addition to the one I patched up on top before we left), lots of small tears all over the place, and random little pieces falling off. Yes we could probably contact the airline and make a fuss over how badly they treated the bag, but it was already on it’s way out. It has been pulled many, many, many miles… When you walk everywhere, your suitcases do too ☺

2) We got to try a crazy Scottish delicacy.. A fried Snickers bar! (yes it’s usually a fried mars bar, but we went for the snickers) We had some friends over for dinner who had a cousin in town that really wanted to try one, so that’s what we ate for dessert. It tasted like a candy bar covered with donut. So basically, it was really good, but we don’t plan on eating another ANY time soon, if ever.

Sadly, I took pictures of both our bag and the fried candy bar event, but accidentally deleted them… Sad face. But this is pretty much what it looked like

nasty.. You’ll have to just imagine what we looked like eating it :)

There are TONS more pictures in the slideshow than what I put up here, so take a look and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Let’s Play Catch-Up Part II

It started out a beautiful day and a beautiful plan… We were taking the latest train to Edinburgh, snoozing in the airport and enjoying the money we didn’t have to spend on a hotel room to make our 6 am flight the next day. And it worked beautifully.. Until we got off the train in Edinburgh. We normally take the airport bus from the train station to the airport, and it’s just right outside Waverley station. Well, a night bus runs all night as well, which was perfect for us to get ourselves to the airport. So we waited. And we waited. And we kept waiting… It was supposed to come every hour and buses kept circling around but the would never ever ever stop for us. Sometimes they would stop, but then they’d turn off completely while the bus driver sprinted into a building avoiding conversation with us in any way, and then they’d come back out and drive away. Well after a few hours (note: we arrived in Edi at about midnight, so after a few hours.. well you can do the math.. we were cold and tired) we were getting pretty frustrated and not understanding what was going on. So, I looked at the bus schedule (for the second time) and noticed a little blurb saying ‘after 23:45 buses pick up at the Waverley steps’. And then I think ‘Daaaaaaang it.. I have no idea where the Waverly steps are’. Well, it turned out they were just a little ways further up and over from where we were, so we did eventually get the bus, but somehow managed to not have the right amount of money (because he needed exact change and we were prepared to pay the same price as the day bus, which was a different amount). But, the driver was so nice and made us get in after expressing that he was certainly not going to leave us on the street in the middle of the night. So we got him the money after getting to the airport and maybe got a couple minutes of shut eye between the small children playing some stupid game the airport provides as entertainment (this is where I admit that I wanted to play too but Ian didn’t want me to because I would wake people up.. sadly those kids’ parents did not tell them that) and the 24 hour coffee shop that just kept on goin. So, we were very tired by the time we got on the plane. And then the next plane. And then the next plane. BUT, oh so happy when we were greeted by smiling faces and offers of yummy food :)

So we spent a total of three weeks in the states. It was by far the craziest trip ever, but we had so much fun spending time with people. We visited as much family as we could and some friends as well, drove an insane amount (including a trip to Florida to see my family down there along with Hope, Wes, and Ben) during that time and I think we are both very ok with the fact that we won’t be driving any time soon. We were very burnt out by the end of the 2nd week, but we made it and SO enjoyed each person we spent time with right on through the 3rd week. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to be back at Westminster for two Sundays to catch up with so many of you who have been faithful in praying for us. We are just SO SO SO thankful for each of our family members who were hospitable to us in our nomadic state and willing to fill us up with many foods we have missed, and for giving us many, many great memories. And we are thankful to all of the friends and other loved ones who took time out to spend with us to maintain those important relationships that could so easily be left to the wayside. God has given us so much and we are so humbled.

A few cutsies of Benny Baby (who, I was recently informed, is quite the chunky monkey at 18 lb 12 oz and not quite 4 months old!) and a pic on the fourth of July – probably the most thankful we’ve ever been on a fourth of July to celebrate the liberties we have in our country. We couldn’t be more thankful for the many people throughout our nation’s history that have been willing to be a part of something bigger than themselves – a task that is not easy or taken lightly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let’s Play Catch-Up Part I

First of all, my apologies for the last post. I’m not going to remove it, because it is all true to things I think about, but it wasn’t exactly a pick-me-up I don’t think :)

Second of all, we have a lot of catching up to do! I’m going to post about our last month and a half in installments over the next few days so as not to overwhelm you. But, I’m putting up the slideshow of everything now. So, you can see pictures, and then get the rest of the story as I post. Just in case – this is probably so dumb – but just in case. You can click on the slideshow images on the right to see the whole album with captions. Just didn’t want anyone to be trying to see all our pictures in those little tiny images :)

We live in a university town (um.. yeah.. where are you going with this??) which means it is a very fluid community. Which means we say goodbye a lot :( You’ll remember we said goodbye to some dear friends not too long ago and because we have such thoughtful, well-organized women in this community, we had a big “Farewell Frolic” to say adieu to several families that are moving on later this summer, or have done so already.

There was dancing…

Relay races…

And an eating competition. Well, it’s no surprise which person our team picked to take care of us in the eating competition. And I must say, I don’t think anyone was surprised when he finished his food in like 10 seconds (it may have been a little longer than that, but it was super fast).

The challenge was to eat a scotch pie, a fudge donut, and drink an IRN BRU first. So, for your viewing pleasure…

THEN, Ian and I had what we might consider to be the most amazing cultural experience we’ve ever had in our lives (I know you’re thinking it’s going to be hard to beat the eating contest, but just wait..). We are members of Historic Scotland and so get informed of some great things going on at HS locations… Including St Andrews Castle. We got an ad in the mail about a Romeo & Juliet performance coming to the castle and I immediately showed it to Ian with a ‘pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease’ look on my face. Long story short, he wanted to see it as much as I did, so we forked over the money and made a date of it. We made a fun little fruit and custard tart to take with us and sat in the grass to watch an AMAZING production of Shakespeare, in the castle grounds with the North Sea at our backs and the seagulls flying overhead. (this is the part where I don’t mention I was wearing a sweatshirt, a spring jacket, and my winter jacket.. Yes. I am the ultimate pansy.) I’m telling you. We were talking about it for days and even now can’t believe what an experience it was. It was incredible. Sadly, no pictures allowed, so this is all you get…

The weekend before we left for our visit to the states (no I don’t think I mentioned that trip on the blog prior to our taking it, but maybe I did) we went to visit the Ellis family in Aberdeen simply because it had been a while since we’d seen them, and we knew there was potential for it to be a long while before we had another chance to see them. We had a super fun weekend with them and we brought our Frisbee, so we made good use of that in a park there (I think I got distracted about every 3 minutes by all the dogs I wished I could snuggle). Lily wasn’t so into that whole Frisbee thing, though she did manage to give it a toss a few times, so we went for a walk.

And look at this weirdness I found – so cool!

We had a picnic and wandered around Union Street (including a visit to Poundland!!), and Brannan took us to the Maritime Museum because they had a deep-sea display that was freeeeeeeaky. But muy interesante. And, here is a picture of the ginormous boats that hang out in the harbour there..

A little different from St Andrews harbour :)

We are so thankful to have the Ellis family here in Scotland and for their good cookin and hospitality to us each time we visit! Oh, and we’re are super excited for their exciting news – Ellis bun number 2 is in the oven!! :)

Friday, July 25, 2008


This is how I would describe myself right now. Every part of my being is completely and utterly knackered. I actually can’t even remember the last time I felt this worn out. And it all started about a month and a half ago…

But that post will come later when I have more time to write. Today was just kind of a stinky day. I have been seriously sleep deprived for far too many nights, and I think it did me in. I have a problem with taking things personally (and am finding that being overly tired intensifies this part of my personality). Being an artist and a designer that’s generally not a welcomed trait, as people just out and out say what they think of your crappy painting that you just poured your heart into, or your design that looks like it just fell out of a magazine from the 80’s that you spent the last 3 hours perfecting.

I think I’m learning that the worst thing to do is assume. The truth is, it is very likely (I might even say it is always the case) that whatever you’re assuming is based on very much less than all of the information you need to make an educated assumption. I think it is related to judging. I read a post recently about a friend who said this: “I was embarrassed at myself for my own version of weird passive/aggressive behavior, remembering that SO often the things that are the most vexing to me are traits that I myself carry.” And I immediately found some semblance of explanation to my recent frustrations. I assume. And I hate when people assume back at me.

But, I am finding there’s really no way around it. Because you can never know the depths of a person fully. You can’t really understand why they made that decision, or why she said that, or why he would have done that because you have no idea all of the things that happened within that person that took them up to that very point in their lives. I feel like my assuming nature has been bursting forth with floods of assumptions about what people are assuming about me – how ridiculous is that?? It is completely. And yet, sometimes it is so overwhelming it completely knocks out my ability to live joyfully because I am so disheartened by what I assume everyone is assuming. I hole up into my little pity party and don’t even care to try to climb out.

That doesn’t even begin to describe everything that has happened (so don’t even think about assuming that it does!! ☺) to make me ponder this aspect of myself, but it gives me enough to say how grateful I am that I am fully known. I am working on being satisfied in that. Regardless of the number of times I am misunderstood in a day (whether it be real or fabricated) my Savior knows exactly why I do what I do, say what I say, think what I think. He knows the sinful reasons and the reasons that, by His grace, are not sinful.

So I’m working on climbing out of my pity party, trusting that the Lord has me right where He wants me, and working toward a consistency like Joseph’s. If I am living with my whole heart aimed at Jesus it doesn’t really matter what people are assuming, does it.