Saturday, September 22, 2018

Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Stirling Castle, Scotland Trip

Our August 2018 Trip to Edinburgh and St. Andrews, Scotland

     Sweetface and I took a trip to see our daughter Erin and her husband Sean. They have been living in St. Andrews for the past year while Sean studied church history at St. Andrews University.  (They have since then returned home to the USA.) We wanted to visit them before they had to leave. We both loved Scotland!  Here was our first glimpse of Scotland at the airport--a gentleman in his kilt! We saw many more while we were there.

     We first spent a night and day in Edinburgh, where as luck would have it, they were having their annual "Fringe"event, with street performers of all types and kinds, foods, music, and entertainment everywhere.  We were fortunate, indeed, to experience such festivities with Erin and Sean. We enjoyed touring Edinburgh Castle as well as the Queen's castle, "Hollyrood".

     Then we went to their charming home in St. Andrews. For the past year they didn't even need a car, as you can walk the whole town in a few minutes. The college, the shops, the people, and the history are all wonderful. This is the lovely apartment where they lived in the most charming village, followed by scenes from the town and St. Andrews University and the surrounding sights.


     We even had the rare opportunity to play golf , just a block away from their home, at the renowned St. Andrews Golf Course, where golf was first invented! (Does "putt-putt" count?)

And the seacoast is just a few minutes walk away, where we found pretty pieces of sea glass.

     Our last day in Scotland we took an hour's drive to visit Stirling Castle, where my ancestor Mary Stewart was born in the mid 1400's, the daughter of King James IV. It was an eerie feeling experiencing being in a place that I know my very DNA came from, and hearing the local Scots speaking in their regional, unfamiliar dialects which were impossible to understand. It all tugged strongly on my heart in a mysterious way which I cannot describe Sometimes I fought the tears, knowing  a bit about the tragedies and struggles that were born there. The beauty of the place was breathtaking. 

     And who knew that the official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn! You see them everywhere--even while sitting in the Royal Thrones. Do you think Mary Stewart saw me sitting there?

Stirling Castle is famous for it's collection of The Stirling Tapestries, including 
this heartbreaker from the series, "The Hunt of the Unicorn."

I even brought one home as a souvenir.

Rosie likes it. 

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Friday, August 17, 2018

 Little Secrets to Big Happiness

"Find the Joy in the Ordinary" moments of life.
If we don't enjoy the smallest moments, 
the sights, smells, touch, or the way the light slants across a room,
we will miss most of the most beautiful parts of our day.

Learn how to relax.
I watch my cat and wonder if she enjoys life
much more than I do.
She knows how to go totally limp.

When she's tired, she naps.
She spends a whole day on the porch just watching the birds.
I have never done that.
Why not?

Eat a hearty breakfast.
At least on the weekend.
(I don't eat breakfast at all during the week.)
But Saturday breakfast is my special time with Sweetface.
We sit in the living room in our pajamas 
and talk until we are hungry.
Then I make a high protein midwesterner's brunch.
It's a special time.

Enjoy your mornings.
Start the day intentionally, pleasantly, slowly.
Mornings are my "quiet time".
For a cup of coffee, prayer, reading, 
journaling, and brushing/snuggling the cat.
The way you start your day affects the whole day.
Make it your own.

Organize your closet.
Get rid of the freeloaders that you never wear,
or don't make you feel fantastic,
 that only cramp and clutter your personal boutique.
When it feels too overwhelming to do it all at once
just decide to remove one item of clothing a day,
every day, until it feels more comfortable.
Pair up your tops with bottoms on the same hanger.
Then getting dressed each morning will be a pleasure.

Dress up, as much and as often as possible.
Even if it's just a dress you made for yourself.
Feel special before going out the door.
Even to run to the grocery store, look your best.

Paint your toenails Bubble Gum Pink.
Or whatever your favorite flavor is.
Then admire them when you relax.
That always makes me feel pretty.

Take a class, even about something you already know how to do, 
just for the fun of it. 
I recently took a chalk painting class where we painted 
picture frames at a darling shop, "Fleur de Chic."
I not only got a few new tips on chalk painting, 
but met some delightful new friends.
It was well worth the effort.


Surround yourself with beauty.
Make your home a sanctuary,
A place of peace and restoration.

Spoil yourself with small indulgences.

Even if it is just a bunch picked up at the grocery store, 
have fresh flowers in your home.

Notice nature.
It's incredible.

The smallest things are breathtaking.

Be amazed by the sky.
It's never the same twice.
Live in awe of God.
Remember He created all of this for You.
Enjoy it.
Each and every day.

What do you do to enjoy each day?
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

July in Missouri

Our family loves the Fourth of July.
We are in love with America!

And it was also our granddaughter Gretchen's 20th birthday.
She liked the presents we sent her.
Especially the large Baggalini for carrying her
water bottle, lunch and college books to her accounting job.
She liked the antique Austrian crystals necklace and earrings 
that I made for her, too.

The Fourth of July is also my birthday, too.
Tina gave me a wonderful birthday party with our girlfriends 
Becky Ruthie and Ann at her home.
I wish I hadn't forgotten to snap photos,
except when we were leaving and saw FIVE beautiful bucks in her yard.
The best gift of all!

When Janine came home from a trip she took me shopping and out to lunch.

Caldwell's serves one mean Taco Tower.

The front door wreath had to be replaced after the baby birds left home.
This is a wreath I picked up at the thrift shop and added a few flowers.

Making fresh lemonade is a must in the summer.
Bags of lemons are such a bargain at Costco!
The lemon pitcher is an old Martha Stewart model from the thrift shop.

I took advantage of a sale at Sur La Table' to buy several
of these bakers with lids.

Perfect for individual peach pies.

Their kitty mugs were on sale too!

And of course the berries are plentiful,
so I made a mixed berry crunch in my iron skillet.

Best with French vanilla ice cream of course!

Sweet Tina shared some of her delectable garden produce.

I attended a wedding shower for our wonderful niece, Christina.

The setting was delightfully pink themed!

Our friend Scott invited us to join him at the local pub this week.
He let me sit on his motorcycle, but was wise enough not to invite me to drive it.
(I couldn't hold it up!)

I rearranged my antique mall booth.

Enjoyed a few more glorious sunsets.

And enjoyed one of our famous Midwestern thunderstorms.
This is 3 minutes long, but worth the watch if you haven't
experienced a constant lightning storm.
It came so close, but it never even rained on us.

I have run on long enough for now.
But I'm waiting to hear what you have done this July.
Please share a comment and subscribe below. 

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