Monday, August 19, 2013

In The Beginning

In the beginning there were six happy travelers going on an adventure.
One of them was yummy.
All of them were eager.

We each had a carry on suitcase and a backpack. Each of us got 3 changes of clothes plus what we were wearing. The rest of the luggage was filled with gluten-free food because we didn't really know what to expect when it came to eating in England. And because, as we ate the food we could fill the empty space with souvenirs. I'm always thinking.

So, we had a 40 minutes flight up to Seattle. Still happy, still eager.
Then a 5 and 1/2 hour flight to New Jersey. Still happy, eagerness wearing a little thin.
Then a taxi ride at midnight from New Jersey to the New York airport (can you say free tickets?). We spent the night on the floor of the New York airport. No comment.
The next morning we boarded a 7 hour flight to England. Still happy but rather drowsy. We are not on speaking terms with eager at this point.
The highlight of the flight for me was Avonlea's conversation with a woman sitting next to her. I was in front of them so I could conveniently eavesdrop.
"So why are you going to England?" asked the woman.
"Our family is going to a Bible camp."
"Oh. Have you ever read the Bible?"
"Yes."
"The whole thing?"
"Yes."
"Do you have any of it memorized?"
"Yes."
"Would you say some of it for me?"
I waited in anticipation to see what verse Avonlea would choose. I was a little shocked to hear her begin quoting the book of Phillipians.
Avonlea told me later that the woman started losing interest after the first chapter so she stopped.!!!

By the time we got to London it was 11pm. We got a taxi to our hotel. We were all more or less just relived to be there and waiting nothing more than a BED.
We were trying to check into our hotel but there was some confusion.
Finally a man who looked uneasy (to put it mildly) came out to tell us that they had overbooked.
There was no room in the inn.
My children were sprawled out on the lobby floor (tile). I was exhausted and starving and not happy at all.
Not happy. Not eager. Not.

The staff apologized profusely and packed us off in another taxi to a hotel on the other side of London. We fell onto beds and slept for 11 hours. I was awakened by the phone in my room saying the taxi from the other hotel was coming for us and our room there was ready.

Luckily we hadn't taken anything off so we could basically roll out of bed and into the taxi.

 So we began, 3 days after we had left home, our adventures in England.
And we were happy. And eager.
And one of us was yummy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Are You Alright?

England has several speech things that are different from ours.
For example....
Instead of asking "How are you?" they ask "Are you alright?"
Now, in America, "Are you alright?" is asked when someone is choking, or tripping, or they just look ill.
You can imagine how I felt then being asked numerous times, in succession, if I was alright.
At first I just nodded and smiled apprehensively.
Then I examined myself thoroughly to see what the heck was giving everyone concern.
Then I turned to Dave and said, "What's the matter with me??!!"
He was as puzzled as I was.
But after several days we figured it out by having our children explain it to us.
They picked things up quicker than we did.
Especially the accent. Here's what it sounded like to be asked if you were alright.
video
Dave figured out himself that people in England say "pardon" rather than excuse me.
He said "excuse me" trying to get through a store aisle and people parted like the red sea trying to get away from him. Apparently he just announced that he had gas.

Speaking of gas, I had the first time experience of having to pay to use the restroom. Traveling with FOUR children can get very expensive if you have to pay every time someone has to go.

People in England also say "brilliant" and "lovely" as opposed to "cool" or "awesome" or whatever kids say nowadays. At first I thought the people I was talking to thought that I was brilliant and lovely and it boosted my self esteem considerably especially after the "are you alright" incident, but no, it was just slang. Sigh.

One night at Capernwray, the staff decided to do a song and sing it like different nationalities. When they got to how the Americans sing it, they said, "Now we have to exaggerate all the movements because Americans think that everything in America is bigger and better."
Oh really.
The next day the kids asked me what that was all about. I told them, "Well, they were making fun of us, acting like we think everything in our country is bigger and better than any other country."
Grant looked at me across the table and said, "It is."
Apparently I am raising a stereotype. With blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyway, we were amazed at how even though we speak the same language, it was so hard sometimes to understand the British, the Scottish, and the Irish. We resorted to smiling and nodding ALOT and just silently prayed to God that they wouldn't ask us any questions that we'd have to try and decipher.

Like...

"Are you alright?"



Saturday, August 3, 2013

My thoughts in London at 4am

Half a world and half a lifetime away can't really be called a vacation.
It was a journey.
Dave and I took our four children back to where we met 19 years ago; Capernwray Bible College in England.

The goodness of God drenched this trip. His mercy brought some hard things in ourselves to light, things that obviously needed European exposure to be revealed. But we also saw some gifts with new eyes.

The second night in London I woke up at 1am, completely rested and ready to start the day. So did all the children. Jet lag. They all climbed in our bed and had yogurt and pretzels and cookies. We talked and laughed for two hours. After I re-tucked them in at 3am I laid awake thinking for another 2 hours.

This is what I thought.
When I was 19 I came to London utterly alone. Insecure. Unsure. Unloved.
Through amazing, devastating, miraculous circumstances God turned all that around.
Now, I didn't just go to Bible college and meet Dave. That would have been too easy. I met someone else who asked me to do life with him, who offered to fill the void of my soul. I said yes.
But God said no, He wanted that job.
And like Jacob, I wrestled determined.
God won.
"I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me." (Jer. 32:40b)
God's continued to win in my life even though I often continued to wrestle.
Then slowly I learned that God's wins, were actually my wins also.
That the places of battle turned into fountains of blessing in my life.
Simplistic to write, but difficult to go through, and incredible to think about at 4am in London.

But the reality was that I came back to London 19 years later with a husband who absolutely loves me, children that love Jesus, and I am still growing and walking with the Lord. All this is absolute Grace. Undeserved. My life is not perfect, I have many glaring flaws, but God continues to engage me where I'm at. Incredible.

We were gone for over 3 weeks. We visited, London, Edinburgh, Scotland, the lake district (Capernwray), and New York. We have more stories and saw more sights than I could possible relay. They will come out slowly over the next weeks, winding their way through my thoughts and finding a destination here. But today, I just wanted to post a few pictures and say that God is good, and if you doubt that, tell Him. Wrestle it out with Him. He'll win, and what you thought was a vacation will turn into a life journey.
Scotland

Capernwray

London

New York

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