Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Thankful Heart

How can three weeks in one's life feel more complete and satisfying than three whole months otherwise?

Goodness, my heart is full.

My beautiful new goddaughter was born on the 22nd of May! Her name is Rosalie Hope and she weighed a whopping 9lbs 13.5oz!!

Of course, the plan was that she would be born while I was there staying with her lovely family for 9 days to be on hand to help with their 2-year-old, my other goddaughter Lily! But... babies come when they come... And instead she was born the day Charles and I were headed off to Ireland!

The stunning Dingle Bay
County Kerry, Ireland
I CANNOT get enough of the live traditional Irish music in the pubs!


I am so captured by the beauty of Ireland

...And by this handsome man I love.

Ross Castle on Lower Killarney Lake
Killarney National Park, Ireland

Ross Castle

One of our highlights of the trip: we hired a rowboat and rowed out onto the lake surrounded by mountains on all sides and with Ross Castle in the background! It was stunning...
And I had my own handsome gentleman rower :)

Rowing out into Lower Killarney Lake

Mmmm, the Irish beauty
Killarney National Park, Ireland

Ice cream made from the milk of the rare Kerry cow!
Mine was Baileys flavoured :)

Baileys Coffee! Mmm, mmm, good.

My tall, dark, and handsome stud enjoying a Guinness in Ireland :)

Our trip lasted effectively only 2 and half days, but it was so perfectly wonderful being back in my beloved Ireland and with my beloved man! Something about the wide open, expansive beauty of Ireland gives me a sense of God's nearness. The majesty to be seen from every vantage point points me to His majesty. Oh, I am SO thankful for Ireland! And for the precious moments spent with Charles there. I know it sounds silly, but somehow I am constantly surprised by the strength of my own love for this man. I just assume I can't feel any more love for him than I already do, and then all of a sudden, I realize that it goes deeper. We're both caught unawares by the power of this romance He's given us. So thankful...

We arrived back in London on the Friday, and Saturday morning Charles spoiled me rotten with a Wowcher.com deal for a champagne breakfast at the Hilton in central London! (Gotta love such Groupon-esque things. This date would have normally cost 52GBP just for breakfast and we got it for 19GBP!). London's been having it's first taste of summer this past weekend, and we spend the rest of the day popping in and out of the city's famed museums and walking barefoot in the city's parks :) Then to finish off the day, we went to a stand-up comedy club on the south bank of the Thames (I found this deal on Groupon.com because my man loves stand-up. Neither of us had ever been to an stand-up comedy gig in such an intimate setting of just 20 people or so! Really cool!) I got to wear a pretty "out on a date" outfit and feel fabulous out-and-about London (the fact that my life has me and out of this city so often still shocks my little small-town MN girl heart!) with my handsome man who thinks I'm beautiful. This is what every girl should get to experience :)

And one final note from the week: my wonderful grandpa turned 80 back in Minnesota!! My whole extended family got together to celebrate. My farmer/carpenter grandpa from the Nebraska prairies has taught me a few things about what it means to be a good man-- from his big teddy bear heart quick to shed a tear at the tender moments to his giant, work-hardened hands quick to defend and protect his family or indeed the vulnerable of all kinds. His lasting legacy in my life has been how very protected he makes me feel, and so cherished... I love my Grandpa so!

It's amazing how refreshed I feel. It's incredible how sweet it is to feel so much happiness for an extended period of time when you've spent time in the low places. Continually, my good God teaches me about the nature of hope; the nature of trust. I return to my current state in life today and it doesn't fill me with excitement. Some things I prayed so hard and so deeply for have yet to happen so this return is not sweet like it might have been... but I know that I can trust Him. Because He is good. And his plans for me are for my very best, and for His glory. I know this, because I know He loves me, and cannot act outside of that love...

So here's to the giver of good gifts, the maker of good memories, this kind, kind King who created magical places like the wild terrain of Ireland, and who lovingly shaped my handsome man and planned our meeting from the dawning of time. This kind, kind King who safely delivered sweet baby Rosalie and brought her Mummy safely through the scares that led to a C-section birth. This kind, kind King who gave me this Grandfather who has always made me feel loved and cherished, even in his hard, farmerish way :), and has brought him through 80 years of life experience (including 60 years of loving married commitment to my Grandma!) This kind, kind King who knows so intimately the desires of this achey little heart of mine, and who knows so intimately His best for this same little heart and will move heaven and earth to bring it to that best. I am so thankful He never gives up on me...

What do you have to be thankful to Him for today?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An Enchanting Walk!

I took the most beautiful walk through the Cotswolds today from Winchcombe to Hailes Abbey! 4.5 miles through sheep and cattle fields and over green green hills, past massive, ancient-looking trees, stunningly vibrant yellow rapeseed fields, and trickling streams under a sunny blue sky tempered by fluffy white clouds.

I have to pinch myself-- I have always been so enchanted by this part of God's world and it still amazes me that He gives me days here...

I LOVE The Cotswolds!

Lovely Winchcombe Town

Current Events :)

Making sand castles with my treasure hunt group.
That's our pastor in the centre.
Have I mentioned how much I love our church plant Brunnen?

Last weekend we had a lovely church retreat on one of the islands of the southern Archipelago of Gothenburg. I ADORE the islands-- everything moves at a slower pace. Most of them are only reachable by ferry and the residents have no cars there. They are small and quaint and the perfect place for a church retreat! 

That Sunday we had our church service in the community centre for the first time-- we've out-grown the living rooms we've been meeting in! This church is such a blessing to me, these people all joining together with intention-- a desire to please God and hold one another accountable to love people well by sharing Jesus.

Praise God for the way He still uses His Church!

Lily and her daddy!
 And in current events-- I've just arrived in England for a special few weeks!

My darling friends from college, Lizzie and Neil, are having a baby! Any day now, in fact :) And they've asked me to come and stay with them around the blessed event to lend a hand with my scrumptious 2 year old goddaughter Lily, so she'll be taken care of when they're off busy giving birth :) And just during the final days of pregnancy when Mummy's pretty exhausted, and the first days of Baby Smith's life, when there are many adjustments to be made!

I am so excited to be here with my "family away from families" :) They live, you might remember, in one of my favourite parts of England, The Cotswolds, and I am so at home in the little honey-coloured villages steeped in history and green, green rolling hills...

I feel so utterly blessed!

Now it's just a matter of waiting for Baby Smith to decide she's ready to come out into the world :) And after my lovely time spent with Lilykins and her family, I'm off for a much-needed week with my man. England always holds so many blessings for me...

The yummy mummy herself and me and her due date.
Lizzie is seriously like a sister to me. So thankful for her!

They live next door to the ancient village church-- so Lily and I like to skip through the churchyard in the sunshine!

My precious little goddaughter, Lily Joy, is such a delight to me :)

That's my friends' house just beyond the churchyard. Can you see why I love to come visit?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...