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?
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