Friday, May 29, 2009

Today We Celebrate

It's our 15th Anniversary and a great milestone to celebrate. Fifteen years ago today we were married in Decatur, Indiana on a nice, warm, sunny day. I am thankful that the Lord has protected us and has given us a love that grows all the time. 

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put assunder."
Matthew 19:6b, KJV

A Marriage Prayer

Lord, be in this marriage
In a special way,
May we feel Your presence
Each and every day.

Grant us both good humor 
To surpass our coming years;
May there always be much laughter,
May there always be less tears.

Give us strength and courage
To follow in Your will,
To trust You in the valley
As we do upon the hill.

Give us both the eyes of love
So we'll always see
The goodness in each other,
Secure us, Lord, in Thee.

Give us words of kindness, Lord,
Help us both live
So our lips are ever quick
In saying, "I forgive."

Give us hearts that beat as one,
Bind us ever near;
May our love grow deeper, Lord,
With each passing year.

Lord, be in this marriage,
Keep our love brand new;
May we love each other, Lord,
The same way that *You* do.
by: Connie Hinnen Cook

Tonight we are going to a nice, Italian restaurant in Manchester called Giorgio's. Just the two of us. I'm looking forward to it. And in just a couple of weeks, we are going on a Mediterranean cruise to Rome, Turkey, Greece, and then to Sicily with the kids. They've never experienced this and we're excited to have them along. 

Have a blessed weekend!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday! - Say Cheese!!

Okay, everybody smile.

That worked out well!

For more "Wordless Wednesday" posts, go here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday! Baseball in England!

Jetlagged coach (my hubby)

Austin pitching. Stone walls everywhere...

Cooper on 3rd

Grant has company in the background... baa!

Crazy windy day & a bad look!
Umbrella tent

Multiple blankets to stay warm

and this was all in one game!

Only in England...

For more "Wordless Wednesday" posts, visit "5 Minutes for Mom".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Caught between a rock and a hard place!

Scratch that! I mean, I'm caught between a "blog and a scrapbook". Maybe I should explain myself.

Ever since I have started blogging, and I love to do that, I have not been working on my scrapbooks as much. 

And I didn't realize in the beginning, how time-consuming it would be. I mean, it's really addicting.  I enjoy it as much as the next person, but come on! I'm taking loads of pictures and I remember back in the day when I would say, "That would be a great picture for our scrapbook". That has since been replaced by the phrase, "That'll be a great picture for my blog". 

We lugged all our scrapbooking supplies to England, which I bought from my friend, Jammi, who sells Creative Memories and who also has a brand new blog, from home to make some cool photo albums, but what do I find myself doing instead?... yep, blogging- reading yours, and thinking about different things I can write on mine. I guess I can turn my blog into a scrapbook like my bloggy friend, Rachel, did. She found a company that makes a book out of your blog posts. Seriously... I'm doing that.

I have piles like this one on my desk...

and containers in my closet filled with all kinds of photographs that I need to put in...

these photo albums.

Here are some of my most recent pages. My daughters like to join in on the fun and make their own pages.

So you see?! It's all your fault, Ladies! For being fun, beautiful, Godly women, that inspire me, teach me, and encourage me to "pen" my thoughts on this blog instead of putting it all down on paper. 

I'll keep you "posted" as I design some new pages. 

Blessings to you!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

A lot happens in a year!

It's been exactly one year since we moved from Michigan to England for Shawn's work with Kelloggs. As you can imagine, there have been ups and downs, and lots of adventure in between. Staying within your comfort zone is always the easiest thing to do, but God puts you exactly where He wants you in order to challenge you. To make you grow in ways you could not if you stayed where life is just easy. That's not to say this is difficult - living in a beautiful country with easy access to many countries most people would love to visit. But it has had its difficult moments. And we wouldn't change it for anything.

Join me as I walk through these last 12 months. And thank you for walking with me, in essence, through blogging. You have no idea how much it has helped me when I was feeling lonely or missing my friends and family. I have met great women this way and you have lifted me up in prayer and, at times, have made me laugh. Sometimes you even made me cry because of your own story. 

May, 2008
This is one of our first trips around the dam... a place I am at daily to walk Fletcher and also to talk with the Lord.

Our first trip to a castle in Conwy, Wales

We visited the Chester Zoo - what a great place!

Each year, the American Expats of Northwest England have a huge 4th of July party. It was our first holiday that we spent away from home. And, yes, I cried. What a great event it was to be a part of. All of our kids were happy that day.

We traveled north up to Edinburgh, Scotland and saw the Edinburgh castle. What a beautiful city to visit.

We missed home so much (and the sun!) and had the opportunity to head back after being in England for 3 months. We saw my cousin Anna get married to Tucker in Decatur, IN.

We visited our friends in Michigan.
(Jamie, Laura, Lizzy, and Sarah)

Cooper, Austin, and Kreigh enjoying being around each other again.

The girls had fun just blowing bubbles while playing with their cousin, Nicki.

We went to Lake Garda, Italy.

Then to Venice

And then to Paris

Fletcher took the long journey from Michigan to London and then to Lymm to be reunited with us. We had been separated for 6 months!

We headed back to the U.S. to celebrate Thanksgiving and also because Shawn missed out on the August trip. 
(Shawn, Carol, Lizzy, and Mike)

New Jersey was our first stop before Michigan. 
(Annette, Carol, Mayra, Celia, and Natasha)

Another shot of us minus Natasha. 

My nieces and nephews in NJ.

While in Indiana, my nephew, Trent, won the State Championship in football.
We had the opportunity to be there and cheer him on. What a game!

Shawn was home for a week around Christmas. We were having fun playing twister.

Our first Christmas in England.

January, 2009
Celebrating Braaten's 11 birthday.

Pastor Ralph and Dianne came to visit us. We took them to Chester which is such a quaint town.

Spending time together as we go for a walk.

Our friend, Sarah and Sydney, came to visit and we took them to Liverpool.

We just celebrated Shawn's birthday. He was actually in Michigan on his birthday so we celebrated 2 days later when he returned.

It truly has been a blessing to be here. Thanks for celebrating the last year with me and for putting up with all the pictures I post. :-)

Blessings to you and your family.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Show Us Where You Live Friday - Guest Room

In order to keep things on the lighter side today, since I have a heavy heart about some other matters, I thought I would join this meme. It helped that I already had a few photos stored in my computer, too! :-)

Kelly at Kelly's Korner Blog has a weekly meme in which she gives a tour of one part of her home. This week it's the guest room.  To join her, go here.

This is our guest room a.k.a. scrapbooking room which our daughters also like to have "sleepovers" in.  That armoire is full of scrapbooks. I don't have as much time to work on the thousands of photos we have taken since we moved to England, let alone the thousands we've taken before said move. I have been successful in doing a total of about 30 pages or so in the last year. That's not major progress... but it is progress. 

This is a trundle bed that we pull out and it pops up, making it a queen-size bed. Notice there aren't any pictures on the wall. In our rental agreement they asked that we not do that. Makes it a little boring, but I love this room anyway.

We have had a couple of sets of friends that traveled across the pond to visit and have stayed in this room. 

My in-laws and my niece, Chyenne, and her husband, Zach, as well as my niece, Natalie, are coming to visit in July. We'll have to figure out some new arrangements to accommodate everyone, but we are really excited about their upcoming visit.

I love the sage green and pale yellow in this room. Hope you enjoyed the tour and my heart is a little lighter after sharing.