Monday, July 27, 2009

And We're Off...Again

Now for week two of our camp ministry. And because of lots of family things and secrets and fun-having with Lulu & Dan before they move (sob!), I haven't had any blog time. So no scheduled posts this week.

I'm sure Junior Camp will provide lots of blog inspiration. Nothing like 40+ 7-12 year olds to jog the old blogging brain.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Awesome Anniversary Trip - Part 9

So, if you can remember way back to my last anniversary post (June 12) we left The Metropolitan Tabernacle and made our way back North of the River. (That'd be the Thames...) Prince Charming had a few game stores he wanted to find. Generally speaking this would not have been a problem, but we kept getting off and on the wrong buses. So it took way longer and way more walking than it should. Then, after finding at least one of the stores, Prince Charming wanted to find an old library one of his mentors had told him about.

Guess what? Yes, we got on and off the wrong bus again. Now it was getting later in the afternoon and we were walking more slowly. OK, I was walking slower. I was about 20 paces behind Prince Charming. I started daydreaming about jumping on whatever bus went by next, with or without him. Not admirable of me, I know, but I'm just, as they say, "keeping it real" here. A long time later we finally found this place:
We had to beg ask to be let in. "No, we didn't have an appointment"; "Yes, we only wanted to see it"; "Yes, we understand there isn't anyone to give us a tour"; "We promise we're just poor little Americans who want to look around so we can tell someone back home we saw it. Please?"

The lady guarding the door did let us in. Prince Charming looked around a little bit while she watched him like a hawk and made inane conversation (she obviously didn't know much about the collection she was guarding). I sat on an uncomfortable wooden chair, much appreciated by my feet, if not by other parts of me.

We left that building and stood on the sidewalk again. Prince Charming had started picking up on the signs that I was not happy. We couldn't decide what to do next, probably because my verbal skills had been submerged in achiness and general crankiness. It was decided that wherever we went next, we ought to go by bus. So we caught another double decker and rode that for awhile.

We ended up going to Kensington Palace. We walked through a gorgeous park and then we saw a crowd of people looking at this: Kensington is still home to many royals ("lesser royals" is how some explain it. Anyone not Queen Elizabeth II = lesser) so there was much speculation over who this might be. First guess would be Prince Charles but he was in Italy during our trip so it wasn't him. (Thank goodness. I'd hate to think I waved that enthusiastically to him.)
Speculation in the crowd leaned toward it being Prince William. Whether this has basis in fact or we all just REALLY wanted it to be William, I do not know. Whoever it was, it was fun to see a helicopter taking off from a garden right in front of you.

We saw beautiful old buildings like this (now a restaurant):
We walked around the grounds a bit:
And we went into the gift shop but we didn't do the full tour. (Money, Time, and Feet all being against it).

My mood had greatly improved at this point. I leave it to you to guess why. So Prince Charming and I caught another bus back toward our hotel. We ended up eating at a darling little French restaurant near there. The food was great and we had plenty to talk about.

Oh, and if you were wondering, we had some fried potatoes at this restaurant. (Prince Charming ordered them) The closest thing to these in the United States? McDonald's. Seriously! If you want genuine "French Fries", MacDonald's is your best bet.

And speaking of McDonald's, that would figure in our visit to Scotland as well. One last night in London and we would be on our way North...

Friday, July 17, 2009

From the Commonplace Book

We are either being what the Holy Spirit would have us be, or we are hindering His work in us and through us. - Edith Schaeffer

Thursday, July 16, 2009

From the Commonplace Book

In order to grow spiritually, Christ must be at the heart of our lives, not simply a part of our lives. - Patty Stump
Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike those "Jesus is my Co-Pilot" signs. Let me just tell you: Jesus doesn't "co-pilot". Either He's driving or you are.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From the Commonplace Book

In this is grace: God misses nothing, knows everything, and loves us anyway. - Liz Curtis Higgs

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

Today's the day Prince Charming and I head off to our church's Youth Camp. Feel free to pray for us and everyone else. We're praying that God will do great things with our young people and us. Catch you when we get back!

(And don't worry: I've scheduled a few commonplace posts for later this week so you can still visit my little blog world even if I can't. We're "unplugging" for camp. That is, if we can remove the cell phones & Ipods from our teens' clenched fists. I'll let you know how it goes!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Quick Photo Catch-Up Post

Tuesday was The Great Zoo Outing of Aught-Nine for our family. Sweet Pea was well prepared: And also much impressed:
By these guys:
Tigger remained calm:
There was giraffe feeding:

And manatee riding (this is my favorite Tigger picture of recent memory!):

Polar bear watching:

And penguin admiring:

And petting:

Not to mention some train riding:

All in all, a fabulous zoo outing. Thanks to my parents for taking all of us (and I do mean all) and for feeding us. Twice.

Then today I took the girls and we met some more friends and family at a playground / water park. I had my camera in my bag the entire day and forgot to take any pictures until the very end. But here's one. I think you can tell from their pink but happy faces that a good time was had by all. (Polly only made it in one picture and none with the other girls. Oops. Maybe next time!)

In other words, we've been having full days, late nights, lots of laughs and loads of memory making. Hooray for summertime!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I wanted to say something about the patriotism of days past, but I think it best to save that rant discussion for another day.

Happy Birthday, America!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Books of 2009 - June

1. Sew Stylish. Craft book by Kate Ebben. Lots of inspiration here!

2. What to Read When. Non-fiction by Pam Allyn. What can I say? I love books about books, reading or writing.

3. Pictures at an Exhibition. Fiction by Sara Houghteling. This one stays with you. The ending was rushed, in my opinion, but the subject matter (a family of art dealers before and after World War 2) is engrossing.

4. The Turtle Catcher. Fiction by Nicole Helget. OK, my first warning on this should have the fact that the book jacket says, "William Faulkner for the Midwest". Weird, graphic, and not worth it. Avoid.

5. An Accomplished Woman. Fiction by Jude Morgan. Oh. My. Stars! Jane Austen lives! OK, not really. But Ms. Morgan evokes the same time period with a skill that I, frankly, envy greatly. This is not a "sequel" or spin-off from the Austen books but it will fulfill the same craving. (What? You don't get that craving to read all of Austen's books, even Mansfield Park, in the space of a week? Hm. Must just be me.) I need to own this book, or, you know, get it for Christmas.

6. Swing Style: Fashions of the 1930's-1950's. Non-fiction by Maureen Reilly. Read as research.

7. Indiscretion. Fiction by Jude Morgan. Yep, after #5 above, I looked up Jude Morgan's other works. This one is just as charming. Put this one on my wish list too.

8. The Small Woman. Non-fiction by Alan Burgess. This is a biography of Gladys Aylward. I read this book first as a teenager (after watching the movie "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness"). I picked this little paperback up at the library sale. This is not a comprehensive or definitive work on Gladys Aylward, but it's a start.

9. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Non-fiction by Barbara Kingsolver. I've seen a lot of discussion on this book around the blogosphere. It's challenging, in a lifestyle sense, but the author's obvious liberal worldview made me want to throw the book more than once. Read only if you can discard the preachy, know-it-all tone. It did change some of my thoughts about food and how we get it.

10. Script and Scribble. Non-fiction by Kitty Burns Florey. A book about writing! This book discusses the history of handwriting in a light fashion. Interesting and fun.

11. Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl. Non-fiction by Susan McCorkindale. I suspect the author and I do not agree on a great many things, but it was a fun read.

12. Every Child Can Succeed. Non-fiction by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. This book is about learning styles. I think I was more confused after finishing the book then when I started.

13. The Passion of the Housfrau. Non-fiction (or is it?) by Nicole Chaison. Part comic-book, part memoir. Part funny, Part infuriating. Another instance of the author holding a completely different worldview from my own. (Let's just say that her reaction to the 2004 election is very similar to mine during the 2008 election. We're never going to be voting for the same people, is all I'm sayin'.)

14. The Miracle at Speedy Motors. Fiction by Alexander McCall Smith. You already know that I love these books. And that I can read them in one sitting if the evening is quiet enough (read: if my children fall asleep quickly).

15. The Family Manager's Guide to Summer Survival. Non-fiction by Kathy Peel. Please don't ask me why I would need to read this.

16. The Actor and the Housewife. Fiction by Shannon Hale. I really enjoyed the beginning of this book: it's funny, witty, and fast paced. However, the author sinks into "telling" rather than "showing" and the passage of time is not consistent throughout the story. I stayed up quite late to finish this book and once I did I actually threw the book against the wall - the ending made me that mad. (I never throw books!) The words "bait and switch" come to mind. Read at your own risk. You'll probably love it, but it might break your heart.

Totals for June:
Fiction - 6
Nonfiction - 10

And yes, in case you were wondering, I spent large swaths of June confined to my bed with this horrible breathing ailment that has afflicted me this summer. Reading is about the only thing I could manage for nearly two weeks.