Friday, March 27, 2015

Throwback to Reykjavik

It's been a while. Since Christmas, to be exact.

Three months have passed since making the time to sit and document. Three months in which we've settled comfortably into London living, leaving no park or common untouched, eating all the things at every market within a 5 mile radius. More thoughts on this later, as I really want to write my heart out but I'm also trying to pay attention to House of Cards. Not an easy thing to do. 

Backtracking a bit to February, in which we had a grand hausfrau reunion that was planned months and months ago when we knew we'd need a pick-me-up in the middle of winter. 

Iceland is a gorgeous place, full of color to juxtapose the gray skies and icy, volcanic tundra. We crammed everything we could into a quick jaunt through Reykjavik and the Golden Circle tour, missing the Northern Lights due to the cloudy weather but still soaking up the beauty of our surroundings. 

But really, I could be anywhere with these girls and it'd be the best time ever.  They're the type of friends that you pick up right where you left off and carry on as if time hasn't passed.
Love love love. 

I want to go back in the summer, when we can drive around ourselves and not have to rely on massive tour buses to get around. And to see the Gulfoss waterfall without the ice. 
And to soak in the hot springs for an entire day. 

Putting the ice behind us and looking forward to a Frankfurt reunion in the spring!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas in England

It hurts your heart to be so far away from home at Christmastime, although if you can't make it to Florida, London's not a bad place to be. 

Our sweet friends invited us to spend the holidays with their family out in the countryside (Diego included!) On Christmas Eve we braved the Tube with the pup and parked ourselves onto a train headed to Birmingham. Not as stressful as I thought, and soon we were picked up by Dan and driving towards the farm.... where we were greeted by Nell, Diego's new girlfriend! 
Just look at that FACE!

Martha's family are the kindest, most welcoming people on the planet. We spent a glorious three days snuggling into their warm couches with lots of tea and cake and Scrabble. Sometimes we ventured out to explore the local towns, but mostly we rested. 

Oh, and let's not forget the eating. Glorious Christmas dinner with cake that you LIT ON FIRE.

After Christmas we drove to York for the night. It's lovely! 
My favorite moment was a moving evensong service at Yorkminster with a  massive organ and phenomenal choir. Be still my heart. 

We continued our journey from York up the coast towards Edinburgh, Scotland, stopping in a quaint little town called Berwick Upon Tweed. The light was perfect, we caught a glimpse of the ocean... just perfect.

And on to Edinburgh! 
What a cool city-- we'll be back for sure, especially in the summer when it's a bit warmer. 
We hiked Arthur's Seat, meandered through the old streets, joined in a viking torch procession, and rung in the new year with Scottish bluegrass and tons of bagpipes. 
Sooooo many bagpipes!

Amazing holiday, loved spending time with our besties, thankful for the Farrells who welcomed us into their home...
looking forward to exploring more of the UK!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Preparing our Hearts

My heart is full, overflowing with pure joy
that comes from the promise of this Christmas season.
God promised to never leave or abandon us, and just when we
thought there was nothing left, He went and did what He promised
in the form of a tiny baby born to a lowly teenager in a barn.
a BARN for goodness' sake.
And here I am stressing myself out over unsent cards
and purchases that Good Morning American insists I need 
and ice skating rinks to be found, gluhwein to be consumed
and should I already have an Elf on the Shelf and be tucking away ideas?
HURRY we only have 3 weeks!!

How easily we forget why there's a Christmas in the first place. 
That it's a celebration of the fulfilled promise, of redemption and pure
JOY that can only truly be experienced when we let go of our control 
and allow God to lead, to show us how to truly love people. 

My hope for this season is to have a heart full of joy
to remember why it is that I fell in love with Christ in the first place
to find a balance between enjoying our commercialized Christmas experiences 
(because those are fun too!) 
but focusing on the reason behind it all.
My prayer is for you to seek out the purpose of this life with me
to find that happiness doesn't only derive from fun experiences, our jobs, or even friends and family 
but the root of it all
true joy, peace, and ultimate fulfillment
comes from loving God
loving people
and truly giving up yourself for the sake of others.

I'll be working through Piper's Advent devotionals if you'd like to join. 
Much love to you at the start of this Christmas season!

Monday, November 17, 2014

a quick update

Things have finally settled down with regards to the big move. 
This impatient heart of mine was hoping to feel like a local as soon as we set foot on London soil, 
but transitions take time, loads of it.
Our 'flat' finally feels like home: 
I can cook in a normal kitchen and have friends over
with space to relax and just be
Job hunting is moving along at a steady pace like the tortoise 
plodding along towards the finish line.
And the most joyous of all-- HOME to FLORIDA 
this weekend to celebrate family and have quick rendezvous with friends
and to eat my face off in turkey and stuffing!

Here are some favs from the past month:


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

if we could only know what Diego's thinking...

Day six in this strange new place. Was it only a week ago that I followed a stranger into his car, ending up in the most exhaustive journey of my life?

After a long car ride I was boarded for a couple nights. No one told me what was going on and I was missing my Auntie Annie somethin' fierce, because for some reason she wasn't there! (Little did I know she was missing me too at home...) Two days later I was stuck in a massive wooden crate and plunged into darkness for the next 10 hours. I'm not sure what was going on, but it was quiet and pitch black so I had a nice, long nap after barking my face off at the people handling my crate.

A bit dazed, I was taken out of the dark and brought to a room where I kept hearing the word 'processing' thrown around. They checked me over, gave me some shots, let me use the facilities and fed me a well-deserved snack. Apparently I was good to go, because I didn't have to go into something called 'quarantine' that sounded really scary. At this point, I still had no idea what was going on.

An hour of traffic and we came to a stop. I heard voices that I recognized... could it be... surely they're not who I think they are? Something within me just KNEW and my tail was slamming against the sides of the crate; as soon it was opened I shot out like a cannon and YES! My MOM and DAD were there to greet me!! What?! How did you get here?! That was the last thing I was expecting! I was torn between greeting them and sniffing the incredible, intoxicating new smells on this street; they took me into a new place and I couldn't get enough of them! Fortunately I was able to hold my pee in, because in my haste I forgot to go before entering. They finally got the drift and took me on a walk, where I took the longest pee of my life.

We walked to a huge park nearby, and guess what was there: a MILLION dogs! At least that what it seemed like, dogs of all shapes and sizes and I played my heart out until I could barely move anymore. I really can't help myself and keep erm, humping all the small dogs. Mom says I have to stop that or we won't be allowed to play. Apparently they all gather every evening and I can't wait to meet them all.

Here I am at my new park checking for potential friends

Our house is like my Annie's but I'm not allowed to bark at all the noises, (and believe me, there are LOTS) but my parents don't like it. I don't understand why; I hear a noise, I want to alert them to someone's presence! Whatever. Also new to me is getting a nice, long rubdown with a towel and then being cleaned with wet wipes after every walk. My mom tried to give me a bath when I first got there; it was terrifying and I hated every minute of it, so to get back at her I tracked muddy foot prints on the carpet that she had to scrub up. Ha, take that, Mom. So now she just cleans me on the porch. She loves it and is really looking forward to winter walks when it's freezing and muddy.

My new stoop!

Speaking of, the other night I was bored so I got up at 4AM to see if anyone wanted to play with me. I tricked them into thinking I really had to use the bathroom, so Mom had to bundle up and take me on a walk to the grass. She was really happy to do it, I think. I also thought I saw a fox, but she kept blocking my view lest I try to run off and eat it.

Everyone loves me here and they have funny accents. I'll keep you updated on my adventures as a city dog.

Love, Diego