Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Movies, Lips, and Ice Skating.

The Murphy adventures continued today, but first, enjoy some more pictures of our beach/golf course walk that Hannah took.

Saturday night the Mackay's had us over for a delicious dinner. We were all so stuffed, so the only solution was to sit on the couch and watch a movie. Christmas is past us, but there's always room for one more viewing of Elf.

Sunday morning we picked up a bunch of kids in the mini-bus and headed to church. Afterward, more naps were in order, but they were put on hold when some of the little neighborhood munchkins came by. More Christmas movie viewing ensued with Pee-Wee's Christmas Special and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

After church in the evening a bunch of kids came over for Youth Fellowship. Jenna displayed her singing and guitar playing skills by leading us in some songs, all the kids were super amazed. One of the boys brought over his new gaming system (most people would know which one, but I don't know these details) with this karaoke game called Lips. So. much. fun.
Two boys singing Leona Lewis' song was pretty hilarious.

James and I were rockin' out so hard the camera couldn't keep up with us.

After Youth Fellowship, we headed over to the Mackay's for our weekly Sunday night hang outs. The Eagles were playing for a spot in the play-offs, so James and Jenna got their game faces on

Hannah had her first taste of black pudding and actually enjoyed it.

The Eagle's won!

Today, after a lunch in a local Dornoch cafe, we headed to Inverness for a girl's day of ice skating, shopping, and dinner. Some girl's from Dornoch and a couple of friends from church went with us.

There was all kinds of silliness going on.

Yay! I'm not the shortest!

There's still more to come...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year of the Visitor: Number Five

Year of the visitor continues with a fabulous visit from two of James' sisters: Jenna and Hannah. We've been stoked about their visit for a while. It's so great to have them here, and even cooler that they can be here during Christmas and the New Year. It seems so normal, like they belong here!

We'll be taking tons of pictures since they'll be here for a total of 12 days, so I'll start sharing now.

This was before Jenna and Hannah got here, but since it is the Christmas season, thought you might like to see James and I getting into the spirit.

A friend of ours made us our very own Christmas cake. Here's what the inside looks like.
Jenna and Hannah in their new Scotland soccer jerseys.

James was given tons of Phillie's and Eagle's gear, he was a bit overwhelmed.

This is the most excitement James has ever shown when it comes to Christmas decorations. My parents gave him a Phillie's world series champs ornament that lights up.

Here he is opening a present from Jenna: a program from the World Series. I think Jenna was just as excited to give as James was to get.

A happy James.

It's never too cold for a walk on the beach.

We miss Leah :( She should be in this photo, right there next to James.

Someone doesn't look too amused.

Chattin' away.

Stay tuned for more documentation of our adventures!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seeing More Clearly

With the winter solstice behind us, I woke up with a renewed sense of gratitude, knowing that we're again in a season of each day getting longer and longer, and increasingly bright. But why should that be what gratifies me, and not the knowledge that God designed the changing of the seasons the way he did for a purpose?

I'm not surprised by God's timing in orchestrating that I read the following by John Piper this morning. I realized how, though I often marvel at God's creation on sunny, blue-sky days, I fail to see his hand and purpose in the long dark nights, the wild winds, the rain that waters the earth, and the clouds that bring us shade.

"One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things. It has its good side, of course, since irritations may cease to be irritations. But there is immense loss when we get used to the redness of the rising sun, and the roundness of the moon, and the whiteness of the snow, the wetness of the rain, the blueness of the sky, the buzzing of the bumble bees, the stitching of the crickets, the invisibility of the wind, the unconscious constancy of heart and diaphragm, the weirdness of noses and ears, the number of the grains of sand on a thousand beaches, the never-ceasing crash crash crash of countless waves, and ten million kingly-clad flowers flourishing and withering in woods and mountain valleys where no one sees but God.

I invite you to seek a "freshness of vision," to look, as though it were the first time, not at the empty product of accumulated millennia of aimless evolutionary accidents, but at the personal handiwork of an infinitely strong, creative, and exuberant Artist who made the earth and the sea and everything in them.

O, that we would open our eyes even wider to the glory of God in the world around us!"

Today, I'm opening my eyes to see the beauty of all that God has made, not just the parts I prefer.

the joys of children

It never fails: hearing the fast, excited, jumbled, chatter of a handful of 8 year old boys coming through our front door brings a smile to my face every time.

Today is the first day of Christmas vacation for the schools, the kid's are completely wild with expectation for Christmas, so we're watching Elf, one of the best Christmas movies ever. If they actually make it through the whole movie, I'll be shocked.

The sequence of events over the last three minutes:

Adam C.: "Don't eat the yellow snow, because you know what that is!"

Adam A.: "Cheese?"

Robbie: "Turkey?"

Adam A.: "Oh, is it pee?"
Now they've decided on their own to review the catechism questions we've been learning in Youth Club on Friday's.
Now they're moving on to wrestling.
Robbie: "After this can we play the Wii?"

See why I'd be surprised if they make it through the whole movie?

I sure am gonna miss these kids when we leave.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here comes the Sun!

Today we woke up to day 5 of absolutely no sign of the sun. It really is quite a drag. Living in Richmond, I knew I loved the sunshine, but I didn't realize how much of an affect the lack of consistent sunshine would have on me, and people in general.

From Friday until this morning, the sun was nowhere to be found, hidden behind thick white and grey clouds. But as the day progressed, tiny bits of blue started to show, and by 1:30 (when the sun was well on it's way down) there were big bits of blue, and we could even see the sun peaking out from behind some clouds! It was like taking in a deep breath of fresh air while sitting on a beach in a tropical climate. Ok, not quite that fabulous, but you can see what I mean.

I would much rather have sunny weather when visitors are here, so if we have to endure the crappy weather when they're not here, I'll take it. Here's hoping we have similar weather for James' sisters (arriving in 10 days!) that we had when Tim and Jenna were here. It was cold and icy, but sunny most of the time.

Currently, it's 4pm, the sun dipped below the horizon about half an hour ago. These early dark nights make it feel like it's so much later than it actually is.

But! Only 5 days until winter solstice! After that (the shortest day of the year) the days will begin to get longer and longer again. Yippee!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Scotland is fiercely proud of their very own fizzy juice (the Scottish way of saying soda): Irn-Bru. Pronounced Iron Brew, the soda originated here in 1901 and is still produced here. It has been the most popular soda in Scotland for many years, outselling even Coca-Cola, until just recently when sales have become almost equal between the rival companies.

Here's an example of just how dedicated Scots are to one of their favorite drink's (my unofficial opinion says the other favorites are coffee, tea, and whiskey): When McDonald's first opened restaurants in Glasgow, Scotland, they didn't serve Irn-Bru. Glaswegians (people from Glasgow) were insulted. McDonald's finally relented and realized the importance of adding Irn-Bru to their menu when the restaurants were picketed.

Wondering why you've never seen Irn-Bru in America? The FDA has banned it because it contains a carcinogenic coloring (as you can see from the photo, Irn-Bru is neon orange). There is a website that sells it in America, but the recipe differs from the original, and they're currently completely out of stock.

James loves the stuff. The smell alone makes me gag. The taste reminds me of cough syrup. But they do have some great advertisments.

If you've been to Scotland you might recognize landmarks in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Highlands in this ad. Beware, the tune might get stuck in your head, like it does for me.

The latest campaign is based on Rudyard Kipling's poem "If," and has some references to true Scottish culture.

You can see some of their most popular ads here. They've had some controversial ads over the years, I don't even want to link to those, but if you're interested I'm sure you can find them on your own.

Intrigued and wanting to try Irn-Bru for yourself? If you're truly interested, I might just send you a can of your own to try.