A Wedding. In a Castle. In Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿.

Well, it was everything you could imagine a fairy tale wedding would include: stunning countryside, a Scottish castle that exceeded our already-high expectations, very moving vows and a bride that her Mama would have been proud of. If you didn’t read the introduction to this destination wedding/vacation with an important person missing, you can HERE.

Yes, the bride decided to marry in a castle in Scotland. Just saying that the last several months was surreal! Thirty-four loved ones attended and there will be a much larger party locally in a couple of weeks to continue the celebration.

The Blairquhan Castle in Maybole, Ayrshire was extraordinary. While Scotland alone boasted over 2,000 castles, many of those which are even visible in 2019 are in ruins or inhabitable. There are however, several that are still spectacular tourist sites and we did visit Edinburgh Castle as well.

But, back to the wedding…everything from the jet-lag being a very real thing (!) to the travel, to a wedding that most brides can only dream of, the event was one that we will talk about for years to come.

We flew into Glasgow, Scotland. Along with celebrating the wedding and staying in a TRULY amazing castle (I will post castle-specific photos soon), we also toured Edinburgh and a bit around some smaller Scottish towns.

After a four days in Scotland, my daughters and I – along with 15 other wedding guests – flew to Ireland where we stayed another five days. I’ll be posting photos of both countries this week and next.

As I’m sure many of you reading can understand, jumping back into the routine after a trip like that was exhaustion like I’ve not known. I also got a flu just before we left, and it promptly reared its ugly head every day that I tried to plow through and stay up too long!

Well, this is certainly one of my more rambling posts and I apologize for that. Work awaits but I’ve missed this blogging community and look forward to catching up this week on what I’ve missed on your sites!

Happy Monday!

 

Vacation!

True friends are few and hard to find. My precious one of 20 years lost her cancer battle and went to be with Jesus three years ago. Her daughter has grown to be my bonus 4th child.

There was deep, profound loss and heartbreak that we all endured but God has restored us in many ways. Last year, my friend’s daughter fell in love with a fun-loving young man. Her “destination wedding” is in Europe. I have never been there before, but we sent our oldest daughter (22yrs. old now) for a 10-day school trip when she was 17. Both of my daughters are in the wedding and we’ll stay for a week after to visit two countries. It’s been such joy preparing alongside the bride, but I’ve certainly shed some tears thinking about my friend.

On a lighter note, the girls gowns are carefully packed, ready for an international flight and I’ll be back online in a couple of weeks!

Happy August to all!See the source image

“Old” Hands Gave LIFE

See the source imageLittle children rub their grandparents hands with love. Teenagers sometimes make rude comments about “old people skin”. Such a comment was recently spoken by a random stranger to her friends about an elderly person next to her. The young girl was probably fortunate that it was in speedy-passing without us continuing to share space or she may have received a friendly one-minute dissertation about what goes into giving LIFE to others.

Of course God gives us LIFE. But those elderly hands clutching a shopping cart? The elderly hands shaking as they reach for the cold medicine alongside you at the market? They ensured many people experienced a good life on this earth.

“Old” hands aren’t old…they are alive with LIFE.

We must gently sensitize our increasingly desensitized youth about what their elders did with those aging hands they are quick to grimace at.

Those aging hands we see?

They lovingly caressed, nurtured and tended to babies; those babies grew to healthy adults by those hands;

Those hands cleaned toilets and dishes and floors…again and again and again to keep an orderly, neat home that others enjoyed;

They painted and wallpapered to make kids’ bedrooms fun, happy places;

They selected good food from markets, drove it home, washed it, chopped it, cooked it, stored it…feeding their families and bringing meals to others;

Those hands wiped away tears from their children’s cheeks…and from their own – shed for their children;

Those hands made birthday celebrations happen, brought sparkle and wonder to their family’s Christmases and took countless photographs marking the events to give their loved ones memories to fill their hearts in years to come;

Those hands tightly squeezed together… folded in prayer…leaned on a weary forehead…emphasizing their family’s endless needs before a Holy God;

Those aging hands are covered in service, servanthood, beauty, and LIFE that was given to countless people.

Years earlier, those aged hands were young, excited, newlywed hands.

And, they were once upon a time perfect little baby hands…

Let us respect the hands that gave their youth blessing others…

Click on images for source(s)

Reminiscing During a Walk at the Park

I’ve been walking our local parks for years. I love them all (and we have several) for their individuality, but one close to my house has beauty, water and multiple sports fields that hold sentimental value to me.My son ran many-a-bases and threw countless pitches on the various baseball diamonds. My girls carried snack bags, watched movies on portable DVD players during the double-headers, sat on the swings and played pretend with the other sisters bored at their brothers’ baseball games. It might have registered 120* on the turf during my daughters’ lacrosse games, but we parents were also melting on the sidelines!

That was years ago and last night, I strolled alone through the very active and busy park, realizing that with every baseball and soccer game I was passing in stride, I was watching the next generation standing behind home plate.

Grandparents in their chairs, rooting on their grandkids.

Dads at first and third base yelling to their boys…

Mamas pushing and pulling strollers off to the side, rocking their youngest ones as sunset began.

Throughout my long two-hour walk, I grinned knowingly.

I was that Mama. My husband was that Dad, rounding them to home.Throughout my laps, I wiped tears from under my sunglasses. Wasn’t it just last week I was filling the cooler, packing the snacks, grabbing books and blankets? I strode past a long line of parked mini-vans and hatch-backs and trucks …  each stuffed with lawn chairs. Wasn’t I just driving my mini-van? I had mini-vans for 18 years and I loved them. They represented family life that I loved being immersed in. I can still see my kids running from the park playground into the side van door as the skies opened and torrential rain poured. Awesome giggles and real joy flowed from the back seats. Their eyes wide at the ominous clouds and shaking of thunder.

The echoes of their young laughter flooded my mind. It was a precious time before student loans and adult-jobs. My chest filled with the childhood freedom we all enjoyed together. A child’s oblivion of adult world problems… their purity… their frequent laughter… their lightness… it rubs off on the grown ups.

I was smiling at the thoughts, but wiped wetness from my cheeks again. These years are good too…really good. My twins are recent university grads. My baby duck just served the Lord for eight weeks and is finally back in the nest for the remainder of the summer before returning to her university. Even though they are young adults now, we still play games, watch movies, cheer on our Yankees (if you’re a Sox fan, we can still be friends :)), eat dinners together…these years are merely different. They too elicit special feelings and deep appreciation for all God has blessed me with as a Mama of three children. Those ‘free-years’ were just so much stinkin’ fun.

Picking up my pace, I walked far around the nasty, hissing geese…
Summer was painfully late arriving here in New York. About two weeks ago, hot weather finally showed up and it’s been glorious.

This one is a bit fuzzy off my cell phone, but I’m including it as the birds chirping throughout the park is a summer joy to me!
Oh, the happy daisies never get old, do they? Always smiling at us. As I hopped back into my car, these little flowers left me filled with gratitude for the good memories, and lifted up with joy for the good there is now – and will continue to be.
Admire each pretty flow’r
With its sweet smell;
To praise their Maker, and to tell
The marks of His great pow’r.      Thomas Traherne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful for the Few Remaining Drive-Ins!

It’s remained an annual tradition with my family of five. With 22 yr. old twins and a 20 yr. old (along with 10 others we invited this summer), we again drove over an hour to our favorite drive-in for a night of family fun. It’s something that we all look forward to and it never gets old.

Over the years, we have brought the kids friends, our friends, and whoever happened to be around our house during the summers.  Coolers packed, popcorn popped and boxes of candy fill our vehicles!

It’s quite a drive, but the views on the way are beautiful farm lands.

Back in the 1950’s, there were around 4,000 drive-ins around the country. Today, only 330 remain open.

Although you can see I took a photo of the lot full of car stand speakers, the majority of drive-ins now use FM radio to broadcast sound. We use the radio but still enjoy hearing the speakers too!

We were early enough this year that I could photograph the screen and parking lot while still empty, but the place fills up quickly. The crowded lots give me hope that this cool summer activity will remain around for a few more years.

Interested in drive-in fun facts and history? Check out this site that I used for the few facts presented in this post: https://www.driveinmovie.com/history-of-drive-ins