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 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!

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