Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Time Has Come to Move

This corner of the internet has been my blog for nearly three and a half years.  It's seen me travel many countries, welcome new babies into my family, see people get married, flounder about while trying to see what was next--and it's seen God faithfulness in my life.

But, I've decided to move to Wordpress for a variety of reasons.  Therefore, this is my last post on Blogger.

I hope if you enjoy keeping up with mylifetintedpink, you will check out my new (work in progress) blog at Wordpress.

Feel free to follow along as I continue to explore the world, learn life, and have adventures along the way!

It's been fun (and the fun will continue--just at a different web address)!



A Trip to Oxford--A Special Encounter With Lewis

I had a very special encounter while visiting Oxford, England.
Below is my article as published in The Virginian Review.

Photo by K.L.R.
AUTHOR’S HOME — The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’ home outside of Oxford, England, is a three-mile walk from Magdalen College, where he was a Fellow for 29 years. The outside staircase was built to allow him access to his bedroom without having to disturb the housekeeper, whose room was a connector between his bedroom and the hallway. This is one example of Lewis’ kindness and selflessness toward people. (Kirsten Richardson Photo) 

Virginian Writer Taken Aback By English Author's Home

Editor's Note: C.S. Lewis was the noted author of "The Chronicles of Narnia," as well as "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters." Virginian Review Staff Writer Kirsten Richardson visited the home of the famous author during a recent visit to England.

Staff Writer

OXFORD, England - It was as though my heart was kissed, and I never wanted to wash it again. Walking away, I began to skip and then run. Hurrying to catch the bus; the smile on my face never disappeared.

I felt I had met and talked with the man himself, only to remember he died many years ago. Instead, I sat in his living room, listening to stories from a student of his life and works.

My adventure began earlier in the afternoon. Sitting in Oxford at Magdalen College, I told myself that to visit the dreaming spires and not visit the home of the creator of Narnia was absurd.

Three miles later, I arrived at Lewis Close, my excitement and anticipation nearly bubbling over. As I walked up the road, I prayed for an adventurous and special experience.
The L-shaped house sat on the right side of the road, with shrubs and garden surrounding it. Two cars sat in the gravel driveway, evidence that The Kilns is a private residence.

Having learned that morning that arranging a visit in advance was necessary, I was not sure what to expect. A sign on the gate confirmed the information, causing disappointment to creep in

Snapping pictures from different angles, the thought of turning around and going back to town immediately after arriving was the last thing I wanted to do.

Beginning an internal conversation with myself, I suggested knocking on the door, explaining I did not know the tour information before that morning, and asking if they would mind my wandering around the garden.

The battle between fear of disturbing strangers in their home and seizing the opportunity to walk around the grounds after making the trip began.

Weighing the options, I realized that if I refrained from knocking, I was assuming a negative response and not allowing the opportunity for a yes. Also, if it was a situation in a book, the character would certainly knock and make the request.

That did it. I walked up to the door nearest me and knocked. No response. I knocked again, a little louder this time. Still nothing. After the third time, I decided if anyone was home, they were in the main part of the house.

Walking out to the road and around to the gate, I pushed it open. It scraped against the bushes. Standing in front of the door, I pushed the bell. A loud brrringgg sounded from within, and I quickly let go, startled by the noise.

Waiting anxiously, wondering who would open the door and rehearsing what to say, I heard someone approaching. A middle aged man with grey hair and a moustache opened the door.

I began, "I didn't know 'til this morning about needing to schedule a visit. I was wondering if you would mind if I wandered around the garden?"

To my surprise, he invited me in, offering to quickly show me around. Entering the house, I found myself standing in C.S. Lewis' kitchen, just as it was when he lived there.

Ushering me through a foyer, housing a narrow staircase that curved back to the second floor, he offered me a seat in the living room. Looking around, while trying to avoid gawking, I noticed shelves of books, several chairs, and a beautiful wooden desk placed in front of a large, inspiring window with simple detailing, overlooking the garden.

For the next hour, I enjoyed conversation about C.S. Lewis, faith, and Oxford with an admissions officer and marketing associate from Seattle, Washington.

A wealth of information, Kim Gilnett shared facts, tid bits, and stories with me, emphasizing the selfless character of the man loved by so many around the world.

Sitting on the sofa, it felt like I had merely stopped in for a visit, not like I was a tourist in Oxford for the day. Wanting to make sure I made my train, Kim walked me to the end of the road, telling me where to catch the bus.

As I walked, skipped, and then ran, I realized a cup of tea was the only thing missing from my beautiful visit to The Kilns.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A New Prince

We saw the Royal Baby, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Cambridge.

That tiny newborn has no idea that 61 gun salutes went off around the city for him.
The little prince doesn't know I drank a cup of tea in his honor last night.
Nor does he know how many people toasted him and celebrated last night.

Yet, in London lies a little boy who will hopefully be king of Great Britain some day.

Yes, I was one of those people who watched the live stream for an hour, excitedly anticipating the brief presentation of the little prince.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge looked so proud.
They were trying on their parent wings--and doing a good job! .
Prince William was kind and cordial to the press, but loving and caring to wife and child.
I could have melted when the Duchess got in the back seat, Prince William placed the car seat next to her, and then HE drove them off.
Seeing them together, they are a sweet, new family--that just happens to be royalty.

It is beautiful to see.
So much love.


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Royal Baby: The Prince of Cambridge

The Prince of Cambridge arrived this afternoon in England (on their time)!
I am elated.
After arriving home, I checked the news.
I rejoiced (to the annoyance of Trey) at the announcement.

The news with baby updates is playing the background, and earlier I watched the BBC live feed.
Now, I sit, soaking it all in, while sipping Earl Grey tea and nibbling on a chocolate covered hobnob.

Prince William has released a statement.

The Queen's encouragement to the Duchess of Cambridge to have the child soon sounds a bit like something the Dowergess would say on Downton Abbey.  

While visiting a primary school in the northwest of England, Her Majesty said, "I would very much like it to arrive. I'm going on holiday."

My mother has told me about visiting England when Prince William was born.

Now it's my turn.
I remember where I was when I learned of the Royal Engagement (Venice).
I celebrated the Royal Wedding at CIU with tea, scones, and friends.
And, now my first Royal Baby.

I only wish I were celebrating in London tonight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bonjour, Paris!

I visited Paris--finally!

My trip had its stereotypical "American in Paris" moments.
I was too sure of myself as an international traveler.
Visiting a country that didn't speak English, without anyone with me (except for Sunday with Kristy), and not having proper vision (eye problems)--I had a humbling weekend.

As I stepped on to the Air France plane and a flight attendant greeted me with, "Bonjour!"
It hit me--they are speaking French.
I don't speak French.

My seat buddy was a Sri Lankan immigrant in France who used to live in India.
We made interesting conversation--interesting because of the almost double language barrier.
Upon our arrival at Charles de Gaulle, he guided us through the airport (it helps he works there), past border patrol, and showed me which ticket I needed to get to Gare du Nord.  After a few stops on the train, he hopped off and I kept going, all the while processing that I was finally in France--Paris, France!

At Gare du Nord a nice couple offered their assistance, but I assured them I had it under control.  A few minutes later, I was wishing I had accepted their offer, although there was always the possibility that they were conniving.  However, I was swindled out of 30 euros a few minutes later by a sickly-nice Parisian young man who wanted to assist.  I'm still not sure what happened, as I saw him make the ticket purchase--and the ticket worked!  However, the next day it did not.

It was a "Lucy Moment."  I didn't get counterfeit bills, but I did get taken (speaking of Taken--as in the film--I watched both movies on the way back to America.  So, I've now finally seen them.) in Paris.  A rite of passage, maybe?

The rest of the evening I spent finding my flat, exploring Paris, trying to get to Sacre Coeur, only to walk through the Moulin Rouge, sex shop, etc. district, ate dinner at the Sacre Coeur, got lost, may have been followed by a strange man, and royally annoyed another Frenchman by completely ignoring him (while I tried to figure out where I was).  After discovering I was 4 kilometers from where I needed to be, I hailed taxi.  The driver informed me I wasn't in the safest of places.  Joy!  Now, I thought it was around midnight.  The next day I learned that my phone didn't change time zones...and I was out, roaming the streets of Paris, at 1AM.

The next day everything looked brighter.  I met Kristy back at the Sacre Coeur, and we went exploring!  We had a few things that we wanted to do, but other than that, we had an open schedule.  We visited Notre Dame, where I wanted photos of the flying buttresses!  So beautiful.  Then, I looked up and realized we were standing on the famous Lock Bridge.  After crossing it, there were the book stands along the Seine (Midnight in Paris moment).  We found a boulangerie and purchased baguette sandwiches and ate them along the Seine.  Next, we took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower.  The Eiffel Tower is now one of my most favorite structures.  It is magnificent!  We even had time to sit in a sidewalk cafe, savor a glass of wine, and share good conversation.  We moved on to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées.  We circled back to the Latin Quarter, bought gelato (yuuum!  made me miss Regensburg), and ate it while listening to music outside of Shakespeare and Company.  Shakespeare and Co. was incredible.  I cannot wait to go back and spend so much more time there.  It begged for hours of long, intellectual conversation.  Finally, we left and ate dinner in a creperie.  So yummy!  We wandered around a while more before parting ways at Saint-Michel.

The following day I visited the Louvre, saw the Mona Lisa and a few other things and then traipsed off to see Monet at The Musée de l'Orangerie.  Bliss, pure bliss.  I sat and gazed, soaking in the beauty of his work (even if it wasn't my most favorite).  Then, I went to the lower floor to view works by Degas, Renoir, and others.  Yes, I did hope to see the painting from Midnight in Paris that Gertrude Stein, later repeated by Gil, considered "a petit-bourgeois statement of how Picasso sees her..."  It was not there.  However, there were loads of other lovely paintings to enjoy.

I discovered I do like macaroons.
The Latin Quarter and other areas of Central Paris are my favorite.
Paris, overall, warrants another visit.

Riding the train into Paris
Sacre Coeur by night
Notre Dame--magnificent
With the flying buttresses!
The lock bridge--maybe I'll add one someday!
Book stalls--all in French
Baguette sandwich along the Seine?  Yes please!
Visiting Paris with Kristy--best first visit ever!
Love the Eiffel Tower!
Again, magnificent...and so detailed!
Yuuum!  Gelato!
I could have stayed here for hours!
Preparing to say "au revoir"
The Louvre

Thursday, July 18, 2013

History Was Made: Andy Murray Won Wimbledon

Many of you know I attended Wimbledon and wrote the article for The Virginian Review.  For those of you who have not seen it, I hope you enjoy it!  The article is one of my top two favorites I've written to date.
Photo of the article in the paper!
7/12/2013 2:24:00 PM
Richardson Enjoys Wimbledon History

Editor's Note:
Virginian Review writer Kirsten Richardson witnessed tennis history when she attended Sunday's Wimbledon championship during her recent trip to England.

Staff Writer

LONDON, England - After a 77-year drought, a British man won the Wimbledon Championship Sunday afternoon.

Scotsman Andy Murray fought physically and mentally to trump number one player Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

Crowds swarmed around The All England Club, waiting for the start of the most anticipated match, possibly of the season. Fans joined in the traditional consumption of Kentish strawberries with cream, Pimms and lemonade, and champagne with gusto, whether sitting on Henman Hill (unofficially named "Murray Mound") or inside Centre Court.

"Novak Djokovic to serve. Ready. Play." Chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani announced the commencement of the 2013 Gentlemen's Singles Final at the Wimbledon Championship.

Murray's frequently used slice, barely passing over the net tape, caused gasps to echo around Centre Court, as well as sighs of disappointment when the ball failed to catch quite enough air.

Game one of the first set of the match seemed an easy win for Murray, but at its completion, Djokovic was ahead.

Neither player lessening their fight, they battled to break each other. Murray finally passed Djokovic, winning the first set 6-4.

Djokovic, despite several tumbles, did not take runner up for lack of ability. During the second set, he fell immediately after returning a shot from Murray. Murray strained to reach the ball after the first bounce, but the placement was too well executed, pushing the score to 5-4.

Murray continued to fight, taking the second set 7-5.

Each finalist had supporters in the crowd. However, after a yell of encouragement for Djokovic, a British accent was always ready to cry, "Let's go, Andy!" The tit-for-tat banter continued through all three sets, causing ripples of laughter.

As the sets wore on, the excitement and tension levels rose. During breaks in play, tennis etiquette was replaced with deafening cheering and chanting, rivalling that of a soccer match.

The final game of the third set was excruciating. One end of the stadium started to cheer, thinking Murray had won, only to hush quickly when it was obvious he had not. Deuce, ad, deuce, ad, but it finally came to an end with Andy Murray beating Novak Djokovic in the third set 6-4.

Centre Court cheered thunderously, waving flags, pumping fists, and soaking in the emotional moment of Britain winning their own championship.

Walking toward the score board, Murray responded with an awed shock. Novak Djokovic, always a gentleman and good sportsman, walked around the net to congratulate Murray with a hug.

Crouching on the court, Murray soaked in the win before rising, crawling through fans, and standing on one of the boxes to hug his team, kiss his girlfriend and receive an emotional embrace from his mother, who he nearly passed over.

The court quickly transformed into a stage. Ball girls and boys lined the carpet where each player was interviewed. The Duke of Kent, president of The All England Club, awarded the trophies.

Sue Barker opened her interview with Djokovic saying, "Novak, you threw everything at him." His tired, but good natured, response was, "But it wasn't enough." He went on to congratulate Murray, his team, and the entire country, acknowledging how much it meant to everyone.

When the grand slam champion came up, Barker asked him, "I don't know if you realize what you've done, but how does it feel to hold that trophy now?" Murray's response caused laughter in the arena. "It feels slightly different to last year."

Barker described the last game and match point as being "tortuous to watch." Murray quipped, "Imagine playing it."

Murray congratulated Djokovic on his excellent game, saying he would go down in history as one of the great players.

He also added, regarding nearly forgetting to hug his mother, "I did forget her. I just heard her squealing when I went to get down."

The Wimbledon Men's Championship Final was attended by thousands. The stands held Prime Minister David Cameron, British sports players and celebrities, as well as loyal British fans. All shared a joy in seeing a citizen of Great Britain win the Wimbledon title.

Now, everyone awaits Andy Murray's next goal: to defend his U.S. Open title.

That Time I Met Cary Grant--and a Few Other Photos

I have returned from my European travels and am adjusting back to life in Virginia.  I'm trying to reestablish a routine--so far, so good.

When I last posted, I was in Bristol, England visiting Grampaw, some of the family visited, I'd met my newest cousin, and I finally had my photo taken with Cary Grant.  Due to not having my computer, I was unable to post photos, and I promised I would share some.  Enjoy!

Grampaw holding his newest granddaughter

Little Daisy

Enjoying good food and good conversation

Family photo: Mum, Daisy, and Dad asleep in the background

Holding the newest addition!

Ah, Cary!

What's this?  Marmite Gold?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Been a Very Good Year

It's two days before my birthday.
But, I won't have time to write this tomorrow night, because I'll celebrating with my cousins in Stevenage.

When I turned twenty, which was a difficult mental and emotional process for me, I decided to call this decade me "Roaring Twenties."  I just went back and read the post I wrote on 8 July 2011.  Reading what I wrote before knowing anything the decade would hold is special.  One of my favorite things to do is to look back on specific times in my life six months or so after they've happened.

As I look back two years later, reading that twenty year old me had no idea what my twenties would hold, I smile thinking, "If only you knew."  However, even now the same thing can be said.  I have no idea what the next eight years will hold.

However, when I turned twenty I never could have dreamed up all that has taken place.  Actually, the first year seemed a little dull--you know, school.  But, really, God was already beginning to change things about me that I thought were unchangeable.

I never thought I would want to work with a youth group.  Yet, at age twenty and a half, that's what I started doing.  God created a love within me for high school students.  Then, I found myself wanting to stay in Columbia, SC (shocker!).  An opportunity arose for me to study journalism in NYC.  Finishing the program, I didn't think journalism was for me.  After making every effort to move back to Columbia, I realized I had to stay in Virginia.  I started substitute teaching and enjoyed it.  But, I was in a rut...a post-graduation depression of sorts.  I missed my friends and my church.  J. Crew was hiring for peak season.  I obtained a job, moved to Lynchburg, and started a job that increased my customer service skills, provided me with fabulous clothes, and taught me that I cannot stand a monotonous job.  In December I evaluated my passions and loves and decided I wanted to pursue a career in even planning.  It seemed like a good time to move to England.  Then, I received a job offer as a part-time newspaper reporter.  I interviewed, was offered the job, and after thinking about it, called and said I would like it if they were still offering.  The message I received was not, "Great, glad to have you."  It was, "There is an event Sunday, can you be there?"

Thus began the last almost six months.  I love writing for the newspaper.  As a result, I've met amazing people in a town that is blossoming more than it has since its railroad days.  I began substitute teaching again.  One fateful job pushed me through the door at the high school to really get to know the students.  I am forever thankful for that.  God has given me a high school full of amazing students to get to know.  Spending time with them, laughing with them, teaching them, even when they make me blush, is a highlight in my life.  Because we live in a small community, I love getting to know them out of school, as well.  Like the pageant.

Now that school is finished, I am working as tennis assistant to the tennis pro at our county's resort.  Actually, I worked two days and then left for England.  But, I'll be back next week.

Looking back on the past year, because most of what I've shared happened in that span of time, I am overwhelmed with God's presence in my life.  The year has had its tough times.  Graduation from college brings a lot of emotions that I didn't expect. But, God is patient, "...for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust..."

I am blessed with three jobs that I absolutely love, a community in which I love becoming more involved, and  a patient God who teaches me gradually.  Life is a grand adventure full of joy, happiness, sorrow, pain, and love.

Here is to being 22!

Friday, July 5, 2013

In a Nutshell

England is magnificent.
The first week was busy, but things are slowing dow now (yay!).

In a nutshell, I've visited Bristol, stayed with Mary, Tim, Jude, and Julia, traveled to Paris, visited Uncle Gavin's for dinner, visited the University of Oxford, seen Jude and Julia's school, and spent some time relaxing and visiting.

It's a wonderful, semi-short visit.

It's incredible how much difference experience and two and a half years makes.
But, it's funny the insecurities that arise in an environment other than the one in which you've grown up.

I'm sitting at the kitchen table, glancing periodically out to the garden, sipping a cup of tea.
One of the many things I love about England, is when you go to someone's home, typically they will offer you tea.

Anyway, today I go to Stevenage to visit lovely family.
As I was thinking about it this morning, I became very excited.

When I get back to the USA, I will post pictures and share more detailed accounts.
Until then, watch for me at Centre Court during the Men's Wimbledon Finals!

Who do you think will be there?

P.S. Any guesses when the Royal baby will arrive?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dear Friday: So Much

Dear Friday, It's hard to believe you've arrived.  Actually, harder than you think.  It seems crazy that I left the States on Tuesday--it doesn't feel that long.

Dear England, I'm here!  I hope you're ready for me.

Dear Family, It is wonderful to have seen you and I look forward to seeing the rest of you very soon!

Dear Paris, Come Saturday and I am yours for 2.5 days.  Cannot wait.  Absolutely giddy with excitement!

Dear Cary Grant, Yep, I took a picture with you.

Dear London, I'm so excited to walk your streets and re-familiarize myself with you.

Dear Wellies I've Yet To Buy, I can't wait to take you home with me!

Dear Mama, Thank you for getting me to the airport.  And rushing me to get my glasses fixed.  And still have time to pick up some shoes (that I wore yesterday!).

Dear Kristy, I get to see you SO SOON!  Beyond excited!

Dear Jamison, That dessert was amazing.  Let's make that our thing.  Gristmill for lavender ice cream and creme brulee!

Dear Amanda, I'm so glad you're in my life.

Dear Life, I have so much to be thankful for.  I am blessed with amazing friends, family, co-workers, community, and so much more.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rows of Marmite...Am I In Heaven?

British Cheddar Cheese...
...and so much more.

Grocery shopping in England is a treat.
It makes me happy.
The food in England is so much better than in America.

Anyway, have you guessed where I am (if you are one of the people who doesn't already know)?

After a car ride, flight, several trains, and another car, I arrived at Grampaw's.
He greeted me with the offer of a cup of tea.
I love being in a country where tea is held in such esteem.

I fell asleep on the train for a few minutes...only to be awakened by the conductor asking to see my ticket.
Then, I fell asleep and woke up just as we pulled into Reading (which is good, as I might have ended up in Oxford).
Later, Grampaw asked if I wanted to take a nap.
I declined, only to decide that my hurt and needed a rest.
But, I told Grampaw I wouldn't fall asleep.
He retorted, "Those are famous last words."
Um...I don't know how much later...I woke up.

Anyway, except for those little snoozes, I finally went to bed after being awake for about 33 hours.
After eating the yummiest pizza I've eaten in a while.
In the greatest little hole in the wall.

Today was amazing.
Grandma Sue, Claire, Ed, and my newest cousin, Daisy, came to visit.
We drank tea, Skyped with Daddy, went out to eat, and had a lovely time.
Thanks to Claire, Daddy and I now have two jars of Marmite Gold.
And, Daisy is precious!!! (pictures to follow)

*drum roll*
I took a picture with CARY GRANT!
Yes, you read correctly.
One of my favorite actors was born and raised in Bristol.
There is a statue of him in centre of Bristol.
So, in the rain, I asked a nice passerby (after analysing whether I thought he would run off with my camera) if he would take a picture.
He did.
And gave me the camera back.

Oh, did I mention all the Wimbledon Grampaw and I have watched?
And, may we freak out together about Federer losing??!!
I guess I won't be seeing him at the finals.
So sad.

Tomorrow Grampaw and I are off to the bookshop (ummm, a mini-heaven?).
I'll get lost in the classics room while Grampaw works.

Tomorrow I'm off to London in the afternoon.
It feels a little like I'm going home...to one of my many homes.

Photos may be posted before I get home in two weeks...
But, then again, they may not.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How Two Visits to Kroger Made My Night

Periodically I experience moments that make me love life more than usual and very grateful to live in a small area.

After work I finished packing and began my list of errands.
I found myself at Kroger--twice.

The first time I hear, "Hi Kirsten!"
I look up and try to verify the speaker (I'm having eye problems that make recognizing people difficult--I apologize if I've looked at you in the past week and not said hello).
It's Matthew, a student and the little brother of a friend.
He and I chatted briefly.
It made my day that he so brightly said hello to me.

The second time I went in, I ran into Jon and Uncle David, and then I saw someone at the cash register I knew.
So, when it was time to check out, I went through Melissa's line, and we caught up.  Then Scarlet pulled in the lane two people behind me.  So, we had a little social party in the check out line.

Scarlet and I talked all the way out to her car.
Then I saw someone else I recognized--finally.
And, then two more people I had to say hello to.

Oh, and last but certainly not least, I waved goodbye to my cute little brother who was getting carts.

As I walked away, I was filled with a joyful love of the area.
I love getting to know everyone.

P.S.  It struck me today that I am going to miss my town council meeting tomorrow night : (
Someone else gets to write the article.
At least I'll be headed to England : )

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summertime and S'Mores

I've shared a lot about my love of substitute teaching.
One of the best parts of my job is building relationship with the high schoolers.
They are smart, funny, caring, sometimes insecure, confident, changing, and growing individuals.

I spent most of yesterday with a group of them.
Two (actually three) of "my students" are moving at the beginning of July, while I am still in England.
So, five of us hopped in the car and decided to spend the day at the river swimming and roasting hot dogs and making s'mores--you know...goodbye.

Oh, and, while sitting at a roadwork stop sign...they did a Chinese firedrill.
I want to think the VDOT man holding the sign went home and told his family about it.

They were troopers while I did an interview for the newspaper (by troopers I mean, got drinks and food and had fun--rough life, eh!).

I love spending time with these teenagers.
I'm thankful they enjoy spending time with me!

Enjoy a few photos of our day!

All Photos by K.L.R.

In Preparation

I've made two lists. 
One of things to do before I leave. 
The other of what I need to pack.

I'm leaving the country in three days.
But, it feels different than the last time.
It's a shorter length of time.
And, I feel comfortable.
I know what to do.

I'm ready to be gone.
A change of scenery.
The opportunity to see family and friends I've missed for 2.5 years.

Now, to read some more of my book start scratching things off my list.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In Love With a Place I've Never Been

I feel like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Photo Via

I'm in a state of giddy excitement.
Actually, it's been a long time since I've felt these emotions.

You're probably wondering why...
I'll tell you.


I am finally making it to a city I've longed to visit most of my life.
Lists are in my planner, a guide book, and in my head.
I've never been one to really pour over guide books...until now.

Like I've said all along, I have no intention of trying to cram touristy things into my visit.
I know what I want to do, and I will do my best.
I am welcoming suggestions.
And, then I will walk.
Soak in the city.
Dream dreams in a new place.
Probably, at some point, decide I need to live in Paris.
Pick where I'll want to live.
And, recall scenes from my favorite movies that take place in Paris.

Also, what actually prompted me to finally write about my love affair with a city I've yet to visit, I may have just discovered an amazingly large collection of Monet's art--and I verbalized my excitement to my obliging walls.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Little Things

Photo by K.L.R.
Surround me with books.
Let flowers abound.
May tea be plentiful.
The ambiance exude cozy airiness.
Comfy places to lounge.
And, a place to cook.
An easel in the corner.
The cat purring on the bed.

Friday, June 14, 2013



I had an emergency eye appointment that confirmed I am not crazy and I do, in fact, have a problem with my right eye.  The good news: it can be fixed.

Rebecca and I went to the river but did not go swimming due to high, swift water...and the overcast sky.

We had hot dogs, marshmallows, and s'mores.

Mmmm.  Yum!

We attended a Flag Day/238th Birthday of the U.S. Army celebration.

My account will be in the paper tomorrow (yes, I should be writing an article, not a blog post).

Tonight, I'm just being a girl.

Under the Tuscan Sun is such a great movie.

I'm eagerly anticipating Paris.

I just need to make sure I don't forget a teensy thing that I really want to do.

That would be tragic.

And now I've written and you've gotten to read the brief account of my day.

Don't you feel privileged? ;)

P.S. Losing the ability to see clearly is the worst.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When There Are No Words...There Are Words

Photo by K.L.R.
Sometimes there are no words.

But, when I wonder how to passionately express my emotions---I can only think of journaling.


I love words.

I love watching others play their music with deep fervor and passion--and often I wish I could.

But, that is not my gifting.


That is where I find solace.


Over and over I am given a greater understanding of the circumstance on which I ponder.


I am in awe of the Creator.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rest In God: An Idea Now Reality

I'm learning to rely on Jesus in a new way.

When my emotions and mind are going crazy and peace seems miles away,
all I can do is pray.
Peace follows.
Not peace in the sense that everything is fixed,
but a peace that God knows, and in that I can rest.
It is comforting belonging to an omniscient Father.
He holds the world.
And, yet he cares about my heartaches.

He gives sleep to those who need rest.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reflections of a Substitute Teacher: The End of the Year

Headed to my first day subbing!
All prepared for my first group of students!

Today I got up, got ready, and went to substitute for the last time this year.

As I reflect on the past months of substitute teaching, I am thankful for all the opportunities I've had to fill in as a teacher in the Bath County schools.

I've met amazing students who I can call friends, I've learned numerous and valuable lessons, and I've realized I want to teach high school English.

Today was the last official day of school.
Next week are exams.
Many times today, I expressed my joy to be at school on their last official day.
I enjoyed listening to students comment about what they were finding in their lockers as they cleaned them out.
There was an excitement in the air that only comes as the school year is closing.

I had a student come to me and give me a goodbye hug.
It made my day--my year.

I am privileged to know the students in our county.
They make life exciting, hilarious, and purposeful.

Happy as I am to see summer come, I'm going to miss them.

I don't know what the fall holds, but I'm glad that a year ago God didn't open the doors for me to move to Columbia...or England...or Germany.

I would have missed so much.

Never Have I Ever Been to Paris...YET!

Photo via
Life is busy, full, and fulfilling! 

However, it is time to pause and update.

Two weekends ago I bought my ticket to LONDON!
(actually, I bought my ticket three years after leaving the last time)

From June 25-July 10 I will be in in England, with a 2.5 day mini-vaca to PARIS!

That's right.  I'm going to Paris--can'tevenhandleit.

I have most of my time in England planned.
Since I've spent a good bit of time in England, I'm taking this trip to relax, visit family and friends, and do a few things I didn't get to the last time (like visit St. Paul's Cathedral, go to Oxford, and stroll around London...leisurely). 

However, Paris is an entirely new place for me.
I still want to stroll around and just soak it up.
There are several things I positively plan on doing (like going to the top of the Eiffel Tower), but I don't want to feel rushed.
On Monday, my last day, I am going to the Louvre by myself.
I don't know when I will be there next, so I want to be sure I get to see everything on my list (the list I have yet to make).

So, do you all have any tips of things to see and do in Paris?

I will be watching Midnight in Paris and Funny Face before leaving : ) (hopefully)

P.S. A month from today Daddy and I each turn a year older, and I'll be at the Wimbledon Men's Finals with Jess!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes, I Do Like Graduations

Celebratory Silly String Graduation 2008 (sorry for the poor quality)
Over the weekend I attended two graduations--one for fun and one for work.

The first graduation was at my alma mater (do they call high school's alma maters?).
It was nostalgic thinking back five years to when I was sitting on that stage.

The second was a school I've never attended, but surprisingly, I knew a number of the students graduating.
And, as I walked up and saw students in red caps and gowns milling around, I realized that next year my brother will be with them (queue emotion).

Now for the shocker...
I enjoy graduations.
Yes, when I know the people graduating, it helps.
But, I get excited for the students sitting on the cusp of a new adventure in life.

I sit (or stand), with a smile on my face, as they reminisce funny moments, lessons learned, and that this is the last time they will all be together.

Of course I'm partial to BCHS.
The Salutatorian and Valedictorian speeches blew me away.
I'm not sure if a smile ever left my face.
Eli listed and analyzed several frequently used cliches and reasons for avoiding them.
He concluded that in avoiding the cliches, life truth's are not being shared.

Graduations are special.  Moving from one thing to another.

Congratulations, Class of 2013!
I'm proud of you all!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Dear Friday: Life Is Mostly Great

Junior Prom 2013
Photo by K.L.R.
Dear Friday, so glad you arrived and brought a half day of school with you!
Dear Paris, I'm coming to visit!  I am going to love you, I just know it!
Dear England, Can't wait to see you, either.  It's been too long!
Dear Life, I need a little break.  This afternoon, I will rest.
Dear French Open, please come back into my life!
Dear Spring, I think you don't like us this year.
Dear Sunshine, thank you for shining!
Dear Creation, you take my breath away.
Dear Brother, you are so grown up!  I'm glad you had fun at prom : )
Dear Students, I still think you all are great.
Dear Graduates, I'm excited for you as you step from one adventure into another!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

How many times did you hear that growing up?

I'm recalling those words and choosing to abide by them--for the time being.
If I were to spout off all that I am feeling in this moment, I would hurt a lot of people...and maybe lose some friends.

Emotions are funny things.
One incident can set off a wave of emotions on to OTHER people.
Kind of like dominoes.

I need to take my finger and stop the avalanche of falling rectangles.

Rebecca was listening to a song on our drive home.
It was talking about pain...and to feel pain was better than not feeling at all.
There was something about love, too.

I think love/caring is attached to all heart pain, for if there is no love, about what is there to hurt?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Beauty Overwhelms Me

You know the weeks that seem a month long because they are so jam-packed?
Welcome to my week.
I can barely remember Monday.

Virginia's standardized tests were this week.
I was SOL coverage for different people throughout the day (mostly the same schedule everyday, though).
I enjoyed spending time with the students in each class.
Watching teenagers having a good time is so fun (I was in three P.E. classes--funny things happen).

But, other than school, I was playing tennis, helping with tennis practice, getting rained out of tennis (resulting in a grumpy me), planning our 5 year high school reunion (when did that happen?!), and I explored new parts of Bath County (have I mentioned I live in an extraordinarily beautiful place?).

Yesterday I went out for coffee with a couple of the girls---without homework!  We had fun laughing, sharing, and drinking our yummy frappuccinos (made by Amanda!).  Girl time (and, I'm sure guy time) is critical to our well-being.

Angel and I checked out a couple locations for our high school reunion.  Hopefully by the end of today we will have decided on a place.  Our little jaunt ended up lasting over two hours...and we explored new parts of Bath County (well, she'd been there...but I hadn't--at least not to some of them).

Also, a note of importance, I may have found the perfect place to get married!  It is a little piece of England in Bath County, VA.  More on that later...when I either find out information....or waaaay later...if I get to plan my wedding :)

*Side note: that makes me want to watch Candleshoe.*

Today my little brother goes to his Junior Prom.  Yes, there will be lots of pictures!
I'm so proud of him.

And, in just a few hours, I'll know when I'm going to England!  WooHoo!

Here are a few photos from yesterday.

Enjoy and have a marvelous Saturday!

Hidden Valley
Photo by K.L.R

Hidden Valley
Photo by K.L.R.

Dunn's Gap
Photo by K.L.R.

Dunn's Gap
Photo by K.L.R

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You Only Have One Piece

Photo by K.L.R.
I'm pondering my next step...actually, the step after my next step.
You all know I'm a planner.  I want to organize what is going to happen.
But, sometimes it is too much.  I realize I don't have enough pieces to make a picture.
Instead, I must sit, wait, gather more information, and pray.

While thinking about my future plans a few moments ago, I remembered that each time I face an open future, God comes and fills the next space.  He places more stones in my foot path, allowing me to proceed.  Or, perhaps the analogy of adding more stepping stones in a quickly flowing river is better, since I don't want my life to be boring...and working your way through rapids, while trying to remain standing, is anything but boring.

Just like in December, when I didn't know what I was doing and suddenly I decided to move to England and pursue event planning, and then I found myself moving back to CF and BC, writing for the newspaper, substitute teaching, and loving being back where I partially grew up...plans change.  And that's okay.

It doesn't feel okay all the time.  I'm coming to terms with all the new emotions and desires I have.  But, for now, I am here and this is where I am content.  I am not settling.  I love the people I spend time with, I love the students I have in class and get to know, I love the scenery I drive through, I love meeting new people...I love it all.

I am gaining a new understanding of how important relationships are to me.  If you add people to almost all situations, whatever it is you are doing becomes better!  For now I will stay where I am, travel when I have the chance, and continue learning how to be a grown up (it's an ongoing process).
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