Friday, January 28, 2011

Glasgow, Scotland

A few weeks ago Ryan had a game in Glasgow, Scotland. On our way into Scotland The hills and farmland were covered in snow but you were still able to see the old stone walls that separated each lot of land. This was one of my favorite things. I felt like I should be seeing men walking around in kilts blowing on their bagpipes. 

As we first drove through the city in our big coach bus, Ryan and I gave each other a look that said "This place is awesome!" Literally, on each corner there were steeples from old gothic churches standing higher than any other point in the city. It had a much different feel than England. The buildings here are much more gothic in style and made from big blocks of stone rather than the popular brink in England. 

We didn't have a chance to spend much time in Scotland, but what we saw, we loved. Because we arrived and hour and a half before the start of the game I decided to take a gander outside and see what treasures I could find. It had recently snowed so it looked absolutely beautiful, especially as the sun began to set. 

There isn't much to this post, I hope to add more pictures of Scotland someday, but I couldn't let these photos sit on my camera and go unseen. I wanted to share some of the grand old buildings and beautiful structure of Scotland.

This is the building Ryan played in. I was able to capture the sliver of the moon in the second photo...


Across the street was a walking path along a river...


On the other side of the river stood one of the beautiful gothic churches...


Next to the church was the University of Glascow...

Diagonal from the stadium was another ornately designed structure. It was an art gallery and museum...


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roadtrip to Nottingham

On Sunday Ryan and I finally had a day off to do some sightseeing. So after church we decided to make our way up to Nottingham. Nottingham is only about 25 minutes from Leicester so it was a nice quick drive. 

When we first arrived we found ourselves in middle of the Old Market Square. The square is known for its high-end shopping and of course the beautiful Nottingham Council House. Off to the left is what's called the Prudential Building (Not sure what its for but I thought it was pretty with its Victorian design).

From the Old Market Square we walked a short distance to the Nottingham Castle. The castle is no longer used for royal residence but is now used as a museum for an art gallery and many of Nottingham's archeological remains.


Beneath the mansion are several cave cellars doors and medieval pointed arches connecting long passages underground. 

At the bottom of the mansion, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem; the oldest pub in England and possibly the oldest pub in the world; built in 1189 AD. Not only is this pub famous for being the oldest in England, it's also known for its caves connecting to the castle. The caves connecting this pub were used as a brewery. 



We couldn't pass up our chance to have a bite to eat in the oldest pub in the world so we stopped in and asked for a pint of their most popular beer, Old Trip beer. 

You of course can't make a Nottingham trip complete unless you visit the statue of Robin Hood. 

Ryan surrendering:)

For those of you who don't remember the legend, Robin Hood is a highly skilled archer and swordsman and becomes known as a heroic outlaw in English folklore for robbing the rich and giving to the poor. 

Hope you enjoyed Nottingham!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Melbourne Hall

Ryan and I have been attending a beautiful church in the center of Leicester. Melbourne Hall Evangelical Free Church is very unique as it is placed in the center of a heavily populated Muslim community. Driving to get there you feel out of place but once you step in to the church you are among fellow believers and you begin to feel right at home.

Each time we attend we are warmly welcomed by members of the church and our Pastor and his wife; Pastor Paul Bassett and Avril. We are thankful to be under his great teaching and we feel refreshed each time we come. He told us when he first became a believer he was mentored by Martin Lloyd Jones, a man who has had large influence in evangelical Christianity today.

Melbourne Hall is said to be one of the oldest EV-Free churches in Leicester, being 130 years old. The inside is so beautiful so I wanted to take a picture to show you what it looks like. 

The church was built by Dr. FB Meyer. Meyer wanted to building to designed in the shape of a lantern to signify the desire to bring the light of the good news of salvation in Jesus to people in Leicester. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 2010

Hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas time and New Year celebration!

This one is going to be a long one but we had to fit in certain details to tell our crazy 2010 Christmas adventure. 

Ryan and I had a great time being back in the States...once we finally made it there:) We seemed to have the worst luck with flights this trip. Our flight was scheduled to leave early morning on Sunday the 19th of December. Ryan had a game Saturday night and straight after we carpooled to the airport with a couple other teammates. There had been snow all Friday night into Saturday afternoon till about 3 pm so we figured our Sunday morning flight would be safe getting out; especially since there was only about 6 inches on the ground in London. 

To make a long story short we spent the night in the airport with thousands of others sprawled out on the ground only to find out the next morning that airport was shut down, the runways hadn't been cleared and our flight was cancelled all for 6 inches of snow. We retell the story now with a laugh but at the time it was not funny...not one bit! 

After hours of waiting in a line that wasn't moving to reschedule our flight we decided to take the train back from London to Leicester which also turned out to be a very cold and stressful adventure. We had no idea what we were doing so we spent  a lot of time wandering around freezing train stations, putting on whatever extra warm clothes we had in our bags, and asking train station workers to point us in the right direction, but they ended up sending us on a wild goose chase.

Once we arrived home almost 24 hrs later from our initial departure we spent what seemed to be endless hours on the phone and the internet for the next best flight out of this (what we thought at the time) God-Forsaken country. (We don't really think this about England, we were just extremely home-sick and exhausted from being awake for over 40 hours). We finally rescheduled a flight to arrive in the States Wednesday the 22nd which included a trip in the opposite direction and another night spent in an airport in Zurich, Switzerland before we could reach American soil. 

Now with our time being cut short in Philly, we were really disappointed. 

At this time these are all the things running through our heads:
-Our trip was cut from 9 days to 6 days. 
-We were going to miss the only chance to see Ryan's little brother play his high school basketball game.
-We were going to miss the Sight and Sound play "The Miracle of Christmas" which was a gift to us from Ryan's parents for Christmas.

Needless to say, we were glad to be going home for whatever time we had but a bit discouraged about the whole thing.

Well, we made it home and had a relaxing evening with Ryan's family Wednesday night. To our surprise, Ryan's mom was able to reschedule the play for Thursday afternoon (one of our concerns for the trip had been "solved"). Sight and Sound is a theatre in Lancaster, PA. They do Christian productions of stories from the Bible. The play was really great and it put us in the Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were typical days spent with family. Church services, lots of good food, lots of laughter and lots of gift giving. It was good to be home! 

At this point, time was already running short and we were scheduled to see the New Yorkers (Ryan's Dad's side), but news of a big snow storm in the northeast was threatening that part of our trip too...another disappointment.  The storm came and prevented us from seeing the New Yorkers on Sunday the 27th and our itinerary had us leaving the 28th to get back for Ryan's practice on the 29th. New York got hit with almost 2ft. of snow and we woke up the 28th to a text from our airline saying our flight was cancelled. Now, you would think this would be another moment of disappointment, but when we announced it to the family that we wouldn't be leaving that day the house erupted with a loud cheer! 

Again, after spending hours on the phone with our airline, we found out the next possible flight was not until Friday the 31st. This meant that Ryan would be missing four practices before we got back to England, but two of our other concerns had been "solved". Our trip now went from 6 days back to 9 days and we would get to see Ryan's brother play 2 basketball games instead of none. But with great excitement also came dismay. You see....we also had a scheduled flight from England to Belfast, Ireland to spend New Years with Johnny and Jenny McLaughlin, our friends from Master's. We did everything we could to rearrange that flight so we could still see them but to no avail. Once we figured out we couldn't see them, we again decided to call the airline and change our flight to stay longer in Philly, giving us another 3 days and a chance to see the New York family! We spent New Year's Eve in Philly watching a great firework show and New Year's Day in New York watching football and hanging with the family. 

Besides not making it to Ireland and Ryan's missed practices, our trip to America turned out better than planned. 

The first 3 months of our time here we feel that the Lord has been teaching us to trust in Him in all circumstances of our lives.  We've been learning this for the big picture of our lives, like what the Lord will provide for Ryan's basketball career, what He will allow me to be involved in wherever we go and how He will use each of us in each place. But what the Lord gave to us over Christmas was two weeks worth of examples of why He is trustworthy and in control of the smaller picture as well as the big picture. We have been learning that God's promise to us, as shown in His Word, is that He will do EVERYTHING for our good and for His glory. There were times over our Christmas trip where we were foolish enough to think that our plan was better than the plan He had for us. But He showed us that His plan was better than what we originally set out to do. With a short-term lesson like that from God, we have no cause for worry about what He has for us in our future.  

By the way, after we came back to England we found out Ryan didn't miss any practices because the club could not find a place to train over the Christmas break (another answer from the Lord)!