Friday, October 17, 2008

Back to the Summary of Our Summer

To finish catching you up on our summer travels, here's a bunch of photos from our trip to Marseille, France.

It wasn't a trip we'd planned on taking at all, it totally came out of nowhere. A family who works with the same mission organization as we do were interested in coming to Scotland for their vacation. They wanted to do a vacation home swap, so we figured it was a pretty great opportunity we should take advantage of. I mean seriously, free accommodations, free use of a car, and really cheap flights through Ryan Air; how could we pass that up?!

Providentially, the timing of the trip was pretty perfect. When we agreed to go on this trip, we had no idea how badly we would need a week to totally relax and have nothing at all to do, no schedule, no one to be responsible for, no plans to make.

This trip was great, but lots of work. This part of our trip to America was awesome too, but it was exhausting. Then there was this, which needless to say, totally wrecked us. The school year for the kids in Dornoch began the day after we returned from France, and with it, began all of the events we lead for kids here. So it was fabulous to have that week in Marseille, before we jumped back into our regular work schedule.

We spent a lot of time on the beach. This was our first experience with French beaches

A view overlooking that same beach

It's hard to tell from this angle, but this is at the edge of an intense cliff (how incredible is that water?!)

Didn't I tell you? That's a cliff!

An area of downtown Marseille called Vieux Port (Old Port)

I don't remember the name of this structure, but it's includes a portion of the original wall around Marseille.

Here's James, looking perplexed, on top of the structure looking out on the port.

Here's me, enjoying the gloriousness of wearing flip flops and tank tops (doesn't happen much in Scotland)

This is the Notre-Dame de la Garde. It sits on top of the highest natural point in Marseille. I can attest to that because we walked up some seriously steep city streets to get to it.

We made it to the top and had a rest.

The inside was really impressive

There were tons of really cool streets like this that were super close together and curvy. I loved them. See that guy in the bottom corner with the fresh baguette in his back pack? You really do see tons of people carrying around their recently purchased fresh baguettes like that. It seemed like a very French thing to do.

There were several nights when we sat on the porch of the condo we stayed in and watched some amazing sunsets.

The second beach we went to had streets that reminded me of Miami

It was so windy that day, sitting on the beach meant getting blasted with sand constantly (it was the kind of sand that is actually just little rocks. ouch.) so we found a spot on the other side of the boardwalk in the grass.

It still felt like the beach though, because we were this close to the ocean

The next day we decided we needed some exercise so we took a hike to the base of some calanques (think "cliffs")

This is the view about half way down to the base of these calanques. See that little island rock formation in the middle? We saw people cliff diving off of those while we were sitting on the smaller rock that is directly to the left of the island

Almost at the bottom!

Self taken fave.

In the top right of the photo is a close-up of the rock-island you saw in other picture

Further to the right there's a little cove where lots of people were swimming

For all you Richmonders, this is Marseille's Pony Pasture.

You'll have to forgive my horrible video skills, I'm not sure why I thought that the camera angle would magically change if I simply moved the camera vertically.

The last beach we visited is in Cassis, a picturesque town. As you can see, the beach in Cassis is not popular at all. Don't look too close, you might see some topless sunbathers. French beach-goers reserve the right to leave their clothing at home. For those of you who don't know us well enough to know, and are wondering what we did, you can be assured, we chose to remain clothed.

More of those curvy, narrow streets I love.

We sat for a while in a courtyard surrounded by these amazing trees

Another one of my favorite kind of photos

The End!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


The kids are in the middle of their October Holiday; this is the 2.5 weeks (12 school days!) they get off school that originated in the days when kids had to help on the farm to pick all the "tatties" (potatoes).

We've organized some events for the kids because even though they enjoy the break, they get pretty bored. Monday was a trip to Roller Bowl (Bowling) and Tuesday night was a girl's sleepover at our house. As happens in most girl sleepovers, they stayed up super late; the last to retire finally gave in to their exhaustion at 7am. I was in bed by 4:30am.

The 12 girls who came all brought some snacks to share, here's the pile:

And here's what was left. These girls can really put away some candy:

This in addition to what I provided: pizza, cookies, jello from America, (which, by their estimation, tastes better than UK jello), M&M's and Maltesers (like Malt Balls) and pancakes in the morning.

We played some fun games. In one, the girls had to use straws to move Maltesers from the bowl to their cup. But the funniest game was one that involved James' clothes. They had to put on a t-shirt, hoodie, socks, and shorts that belonged to James over their own clothes before another one of the girls rolled a pair on a set of dice. I wasn't sure how much the girls would get into the game, but they absolutely loved it. They played for over an hour. I was in hysterics for about the same amount of time.

It was a great night, we'll have one again. But not for at least a few months, I need some recovery time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Most Fave Sport Ever

Field Hockey!

I discovered my love for the sport in the 8th grade when I first played for my high school's J.V. team. I've got so many fond memories of all my years playing field hockey and being with my team. Oh how I miss those days!

Last Saturday we took a group of kids to a youth event in Inverness. I was thrilled to find out that the retreat center we were at had a ton of plastic field hockey sticks and a wiffle ball. The equipment was a far cry from the real deal, but it would suffice for a pick-up game. I was shocked to see how many people were stoked to play.

It ended up being a boys vs. girls game. Had we not been forced to quit when dinner was served, the girls would've definitely scored twice to come from behind and emerge the victors.

The game brought back so many memories. I think I laughed the entire game, we had such a blast.

He got tired of playing by the rules and decided to throw the ball into the goal.

If only I could find a league to play in! I've been living vicariously by supporting the high school girl's field hockey team in Dornoch, but nothing replaces getting to play!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Riding a Wave

Grief comes in waves. Today I'm experiencing one of those waves.

At times I try to just hang on till I make it through, hoping and waiting for it to end so I can get on with my day. Today I'm trying to let go, let myself fully experience the intensity of it all. I realize I can't grow if I don't let myself process it all, even though it means walking"through the valley of the shadow of death". The deep ache, the fears, the pain, the anger, the tears, the longing for our child; as much as I hate to face all of that, they're all a part of the process.

This week would've marked 5 months. We would have been excitedly anticipating finding out whether we would be welcoming our baby boy or girl into this world.

But I will ride this wave because I have hope.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Year of the Visitor. Part Deux

Here I mentioned how we're really looking forward to all the visitors we expect to have this year.

We just said farewell to visitor number two, of year number two, in Scotland. His name is Vince and he stayed with us for a couple of nights.

I'll have to give you a little background before I tell you who he is. We are here as a result of a great God and the extremely loving and incredibly generous friends and family we have, who have committed to support us financially, prayerfully, emotionally, and mentally during our time here. We wouldn't be able to be here without the support we receive from all of you who have played a vital role in our survival and ability to thrive. Thank you. A million times over, thank you.

So anyway, we work through an organization called Mission to the World. MTW helps to coordinate where in the world workers go, who they work with, etc. Usually, a country will have a mission team made up of several MTW workers that includes a team leader. In Scotland there hasn't been a team leader for the past year, until about a month ago. There are several difficulties that have come about for us as a result of not having a team leader, but I won't bore you with anymore of those details.

So the new team leader is a guy named Vince Wood. He and his family are in the process of raising funds to be able to move to Scotland by January of 2010. The current plan is we will be back in Richmond by the time they get here, but it's great to have his support for the rest of the time we're here.

It was super encouraging to meet him, hear about his vision for Scotland, and share our work with him.