Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trying Times in Babyland

Now that Iain has had carrots, bananas, potatoes, and pumpkin he no longer likes rice cereal! Clearly he is disgusted with the sub-par slop Mom is serving up here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Here Comes Santa Claus

Last weekend we took Iain to see Father Christmas! Apparently he lives in a "grotto" here in the UK. The grotto is that house you see in the first picture. Brian kept saying that Santa had fallen on hard times and was living in the ghetto... oh dear.

Here in England, Santa gives you presents when you go to see him and on Christmas Eve. Pretty sweet deal, huh? They gave Iain a little grab bag with a balloon, a coloring sheet, and a little book inside. He thought the balloon was fascinating! You can see he is already a discerning reader...

...well, ok, taster of books!

You can see that he is positively thrilled to be meeting Santa. He just sat there and looked at us quizzically.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Santa also gave him this really snazzy reindeer hat! Iain thought that was pretty good too!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thankful hearts in England

We had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. We managed to fit 9 people including Iain in our tiny bedroom! Our bed is a murphy bed and is hidden behind the large curtain in this picture. From left to right in this picture you can see Lizzie (PhD student in history), Amber (Lizzie's friend), Anthony (PhD student in astronomy who attends our church), Lani (an American getting her Master's), Sophie (MA student in history), Darren (Sophie's boyfriend), and Brian. Everyone stayed and chatted for quite a while after the meal and seemed like thay had a nice time. My pumpkin pies suffered an ignominious fate: they got moldy! I made two more at the last minute. Poor Brian had to hunt all over the city for another pumpkin, but he was the hero of the day and brought one home.

Click here to hear all our guests say hello.

I have so much to thank the Lord for and I wish that I could keep that thought foremost in mind. With Christmas coming, I'm experiencing another wave of homesickness. I'm praying that God would help me to take every thought captive and to keep an eternal perspective on the things that are truly important. Contentment is always such an elusive thing for me. My heart is enflamed by all the things I see around me and by my idealistic daydreaming.

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.
1 Corinthians 7:17

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to Your name O Most High;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and Your faithfulness by night.
Psalm 92:1-2

You know you've read too much philosophy . . .

. . . when you think that this is just about as funny as it gets.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm SO Happy

I just heard that I am getting a working shower on Friday. Woohoo! We've been taking baths for 2 months. The plumber said the whole shower needed replaced and we'd have to talk to the building manager, but he didn't think she'd want to spend the money to replace it. But she did!! Hooray!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Baa Baa Black Sheep

One night last week, Mama & Iain were playing with the soft lamb that Beverly Lutzmann gave him. Every time Mama would say 'Baa!', Iain would crack up laughing! And the more she did it, the more he laughed! You can watch the video here.

Thanksgiving in the UK

I made these pumpkin pies last night from a real pumpkin! I'm so thrilled that they seem to have turned out well. I was really nervous about it, but it wasn't that much harder than using the canned stuff. I never would have tried this if we were at home, but here they don't have canned pumpkin. And I promised an American Thanksgiving to our friends-- so I gotta serve pumpkin pie! Today's adventure: I'm going on a turkey hunt. Hopefully I can track one down!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Stranger--Welles, not Camus

Brian here again: One of the many perks of being in a university setting is that we get to borrow movies from the library for free! The downside of this is that the library's selection isn't exactly overwhelming. We've borrowed a dud or two so far, but tonight we watched The Stranger, starring and directed by Orson Welles. It was great! Gripping plot development, excellent acting, and near-perfect camera work. It's one of those black-and-white movies that should never be colourised (note the British spelling) as the whole thing is shot to use the black-and-white to maximize the mood.

All the movies in the library have a sticker on them that says, 'University of Sussex Library. For Educational Use Only.' Yeah, right. It brings a whole new meaning to the question, 'Hey Jordan, do you want to study with me tonight?' As one of my hallmates back in my undergraduate days said, 'We're college-educated men!' Of course, he was 'studying' a globe that opened into a mini-bar.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Photoshop Fun

I thought I'd try my hand at making a signature like the girls at Just Graphics do. I was pretty pleased with this, but it took a lot of playing around. One of these days I'm really going to learn Photoshop. Anyway, just wanted to share!

Autumn has finally arrived!

Brian here again: We've been told over and over since we've been here that the area has experienced an unusually long summer. Over the past few weeks, however, autumn has arrived. It started slowly, with just the occasional tree changing its colour (note the British spelling). But it's really kicked into gear over the past few days, so we thought we'd take a pleasant walk and enjoy it. Luckily for you, we took the camera with us:

Iain gets to go hiking, but Papa does all the work! Note the cows in the picture below. The land that surrounds the campus is called the South Downs, and it is all protected in an effort to keep it beautiful--no one is allowed to build on it.

We thought the picture above and the one below would make great PC wallpaper. If you want to use it, left click on the picture to bring up the full-size version. Then right click on it and choose 'set as wallpaper' or 'set as desktop background', depending on what web browser you're using.

Iain was pretty interested in the cows, actually. Papa was paying more attention to where he stepped.This is the playground very near our flat in Park Village. Iain loves to swing there, and he'll enjoy the other stuff as he gets older.

We shot two videos while we were out walking today: one is of the University of Sussex campus, and the other is of Iain as we stood near the cows. Also, I found another video of the campus on YouTube that some other student filmed.

So now you know a little bit more of what the campus looks like. We'll post some pictures of our flat once we get the last few mechanical/logistical issues sorted out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

London Ramble

Last Saturday we took the train up to London. We didn't realize it, but a lot of the city was closed because of Rembrance Day, which is like Memorial Day back home. We still had a nice time though. This is St. James Park, where we stopped first. It is a lovely park near Buckingham Palace with lots of waterfowl in the pond.

This is the view of Big Ben from St. James Park.

I snapped some shots of Brian under a tree that I thought was particularly nice.

Iain and me with St. James in the background.

After wandering through St. James we encountered a bagpiper parade. Brian posted the link to a video of this on the last post. Then we walked towards Parliment and Westminister (both closed due to Rembrance Day) and toured a 13th century tower. Then we crossed the Thames and walked along the South Bank people watching the Londoners and tourists.
Along the South Bank were some interesting street performers. Several of them dressed up as statutes and would move when you deposited money in their cup! There was also a man "playing" glasses of water, some wrestlers, a juggler, and an escape artist.

This is the last building that Charles I ever set foot in. He walked out of the window, onto a scaffold, and was relieved of his head!

This is St. Paul's Cathedral, which closed early for Rembrance Day, so we missed going inside.

We were walking past an office building and I thought the reflection looked interesting, so I took our picture. I guess I'm getting a bit avant-garde. :)

The picture pretty much says it all. But I'd like to say that the photo was taken at 4:55! Look how dark it is!

The last pictures are all of Oxford Circus. All the Christmas lights looked so pretty.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Recent videos

Here are some videos that we've taken since we've been in England. I know we've previously linked to some of them, but I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place.

From the Battle of Hastings reenactment on 14 October: clip number one and clip number two. Click here and here to read about the reenactment, and for the record, it was more lively in person than the videos communicate.

A Remembrance Day parade on 11 November: click here. Turn up the volume for full effect!

Videos of our adorable son: one from 31 October, one from today, another from today, and yet another from today. Just so you know, I saved the best for last. :-)

For Mom

Ok, here are some pictures of Iain. Enjoy!!

You can see a video of him rolling over by clicking here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm a Rolling Stone

That is to say that I'm gathering no moss. The flat, on the other hand... Let's just say it is better not to ask. :) Friday Iain and I went to Alfriston. Alfriston has been inhabited for over one thousand years. Isn't that crazy? It is a very small place and quite the quintesstial English village, though I'm told it is much bigger than many. It has houses, some bed and breakfasts, a bookshop, a post office, a tea room, a chocolate shop, two pubs, and a few other little gift shops. We saw the whole village in less than 5 hours.

We had "elevensies" and lunch both at the Singing Kettle Tea Room. (Elevensies is tea and a little snack at around 11 am.) It was lovely, but very cramped! The building has been there since the 16th century! Elizabeth I was ruling at that time. Incredible. You can see a little bit of the village outside the shop window too. I'm afraid I forgot to get a picture of the whole thing!

Look at the lovely cakes! They are all freshly made. Don't they look yummy? I actually didn't have a slice because I hadn't really had much to eat and I knew it would make me feel sick. :( I must say that English cakes, pastries, and biscuits (cookies) are quite nice. Good thing I'm walking a lot these days!

Iain and I went to Alfriston with Sophie, one of our new friends from the University. She is 23 and working on her master's degree in history. She lives with her boyfriend, Darren, who is 41, in Lewes. She is quite fond of Iain. She recently had all of us over to her house for dinner and somehow we both got to talking about Alfriston. She really wanted to visit the bookshop there, so we made a date to go together and had a nice time.

We also popped over to see the church, which is also quite old, being built in 1360. Britons take all this history as a matter of course, but I just can't get over how old stuff is here. The oldest building in Fort Lauderdale is the Stranahan House, which was built in 1902. Being kind of a history buff (Since I'm a girl, can I be a history puff?) I really love all the old stuff here.

This is outside the church. I just thought is was pretty. Notice how dark it is? It is only about 2pm. I can't get over how early the sun goes down this time of year!

On Saturday the whole family went up to London. I'll post about that soon, but this post is long enough!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Living in Thankfulness

Thank you Jesus for my two boys. Both are gifts from God. They are double gifts: gifts that please me and gifts that allow me to serve. The world sees the latter as foolishness. How can it be a gift to serve? But my example is Christ, "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

And I'm thankful for the dear mother-in-christ who reminded me of this today. God is so good. He knows just what we need. And I'm thankful for the dear sisters (especially you grace girls!) who continue to pray for and encourage me.

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus..."

Dear Lord, help me to remember this and meditate on this. Preserve me from the temptation of grumbling and selfishness. Forgive me for my discontent and help me to accept each day from Your hand with joy. Help me to see the needs of others and to serve them for Christ's sake. Amen.