Living Lovely

Thanksgiving

Hello friends! I am so happy we have officially begun the holiday season. Although I was away from home this Thanksgiving, I still had a wonderful time celebrating with friends. Here’s pictures of some of the highlights:

Apple pie!  Though I think my real highlight in the pie department had to be the pumpkin pie…

 

Awful picture, awesome people.  The room was a little steamy from the oven…can you tell?

Gwen’s take on Thanksgiving decorations…pretty close.

 

This year I’m thankful for friends to spend Thanksgiving with, lovely flatmates, skype, a new second cousin, a great church, and a faithful, faithful God.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Joys of Teenagers

And no, I’m not being sarcastic.  I’ve been volunteering at a local high school for a couple months now, and I can honestly say it is one of the highlights of each week. This is a huge change from the stress of student teaching last year…let’s just say the high school wasn’t my favorite place to be during that span of time. I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to be around these students as a friend and not as a teacher. Here are a couple things I’m loving about teenagers these days.
1. First and foremost, I’m loving that I’m no longer in that life-stage. Just had to put that out there.
2. They’re insightful…way more insightful than people give them credit for.
3. They consider candy (British translation: sweets?) lunch. I’m sorry, but I don’t think I would be satisfied with a gobstopper for a meal.
4. They’re just about the only ones here that might consider being an American as an asset. I’ll take what I can get.
5. They’re in the middle of this difficult and exciting process of learning and embracing who they are.  So hard, but so good.

11.12.11

Welcome to the world Sheamus Ryan Casey! We’re so very glad you’re here!

Encouragement

For the sake of transparency, I want to let you know that the last few days have been a little harder here. Several pieces of very sad news have me thinking about God and patience and prayer and suffering. My thoughts are still kind of a jumble. However, I’ve been finding encouragement in Romans 8. The very end of the chapter says the following:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God this is in Christ our Lord.”

This verse, along with a great conversation with the lovely lady pictured above, have been encouraging me this week. What’s been encouraging you?

Fall

I love fall. I grew up in an area where fall is spectacular, with lots of reds and oranges and yellows. The driveway would be covered with leaves, and every week or so we would smell the smoke when my dad would gather all the leaves in a pile to burn. It’s not surprising then that when I moved to the Central Coast for college I was always pushing for fall to come. When the leaves didn’t change fast enough I would try to hurry the season along with lots of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks and trips to the pumpkin patch, over-compensating for the lack of season. This year, being so used to living on the coast, I jumped into hurrying fall along before I realized I didn’t really need to. Here’s a picture of Edinburgh in the fall!

Confession: I’m not entirely convinced that this will be a real autumn without a pumpkin spice latte. I’ll try to make up for it by baking some pumpkin bread this week.

Visitors

Two of my favorite people, Caitlin and Sarah, came to visit on Thursday.  It was such a treat to be together for a couple of days!  We split our time between Stirling and Edinburgh, with plenty of laughing, talking and eating going on in both cities.  Some of the highlights of the trip included introducing Sarah to the Elephant House (where JK Rowling started Harry Potter…how could we pass that up?), visiting Stirling Castle, soaking up the fall colors, and watching Sarah try to understand some of the accents.  I think my favorite part of the weekend came a couple hours before Sarah had to leave for the airport.  Feeling the need to have one more serving of tea and scones (one of Sarah’s favorite parts about this country), we went to a cafe nearby and sat for several hours.  I felt like we were laying on my bed at home instead of sitting in a restaurant thousands of miles away.  I think that’s why it was so special.  That and the fact that there is something great about sharing your life and questions and thoughts with the same friend who heard you out when you were thirteen.

Thank you Sarah and Caitlin for such a wonderful visit!

Coping Mechanisms

Update: I’m cold.  If you’re British, you probably just got very concerned for my mental state come January.  If you’re from California, you’re probably more sympathetic, sitting there in your t-shirt and flip flops.  Apparently the last several weeks have been abnormally warm for October in Edinburgh, lulling me into a false sense of security.  Let me tell you how I’m coping with this sudden turn of events:  Tea, my ridiculous monkey sock slippers, tea, my second- hand felt blanket, and tea.  I am becoming very attached to the slippers and blanket, and increasingly dependent on the tea.