Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A giving heart is a happy heart!

Is that a saying or did I just make that up?  Anyway, I somehow got out of order on my bloggings and failed to include this fun thing!

If you recall, in June, the news was full of sad stories about the Florida flooding and the Colorado wildfires.  Well, one of my neighbors sent a message on Facebook saying that her nephew is a firefighter in Colorado Springs and they were in need of thick socks.  I thought about this need, thought about how guilty I felt about watching the devastation on the t.v. and decided to try to do something to help.  So, after talking with the kiddos, we decided to set up a donation "drop off" in our driveway and solicited help from our family, friends and neighbors.

Well guess what?!?!?  Sam and Lily Clare collected 90 pairs of socks and $116 to be split between the Tampa and Colorado Springs Red Cross!  Way to go guys!!!

This is our neighbor, Valerie, whose nephew is the Colorado Springs firefighter, making her donation!

Some happy kids (Sam's friend, Ian, came over to help) with their donations!

What a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

“It's not how much we give but how much love 
we put into giving.” 

                                            ― Mother Teresa

And the kids loved their donation booth so much that they stayed at the curb for an extra 30 minutes!

Hoping to grow some giving hearts~


We kicked off this month with a visit to Chattanooga!  The kids and I headed up to spend a few days with "Grandma and Grandpa", then on up to Lookout Mountain to visit with Aunt Janet!  But two of the best highlights of the week was getting to spend some time with my newest great niece (wh-what???  Am I old enough for a great niece?!?!?)  and seeing our nephew Lil' Roger!

Lily and Sam bonding with Anna Marie!

Roger is currently undergoing an extreme chemotherapy regime for cancer.  He must go through four week-long sessions of chemo.   When we visited, he had completed two he has finished the third and only has ONE MORE to go!  Amazingly, he has not had too many bad effects from the chemo and has been in good spirits.  We are constantly praying for his recovery and would love for you to join in on the prayers!!!!

On the Fourth of July, we traveled up to Lookout Mtn and met up with John (who we left in Atlanta because of work).  Always up for an adventure, Janet suggested that we head down the mountain and tour Sequoyah Caverns.  What a neat little excursion!

 Peace, love and God Bless America!!!!

The family who caves together stays together!

 My heart is still tied to Chattanooga, so when I saw this barn leaving the caverns (which are in Valley Head, AL), I had to stop and get a picture!  I think it's beautiful!

God Bless the USA~

Friday, July 13, 2012

Across the pond!

One thing that I love about not scheduling out our summer is the ability to make spur of the moment plans!  And my latest spur of the moment decision allowed me to join John on a business trip to London!  With the help of some frequent flier points and my wonderful family to take care of the kiddos...John and I had a great visit across the pond!

Originally, John was to be in meetings everyday, so I had plotted out my sightseeing path as a lone tourist.  But, his meetings were cut short and we were able to tour the city together!

We flew out late Monday night (10:30pm) and arrived in London at 12:30 on Tuesday afternoon.  After checking in and John making a few work calls, we headed out....

Buckingham Palace:

Big Ben (with the Goodyear blimp flying by!):

This handy little reminder saved us many times!  (They drive on the opposite side of the road.)

Parliament Building:

Double Decker!:

Trafalgar Square:

Well, John had to work on Wednesday, so I was on my own.  After breakfast, I braved "the Tube" (aka: subway) and headed out to St. Paul's Cathedral.

St. Paul's was beautiful!  Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside, so my photos are limited.  I was surprised to find that it is still a "working" church.  So, I felt so fortunate to be able to take part in the 12:00 pm Communion Service!  Then I did my self-guided tour and soaked in the beauty!

Yep, had to ask a passerby to take my picture from one of the galleries!  Did I mention that I climbed 500+ stairs to get to the top?!?!?  Oh, it was sooo worth it!

After my cathedral tour, I went to a deli and got a yummy pesto and tomato panini and ate in a park; then headed over to the Tate Modern Art Museum.  I was excited to see an original Picasso:

But my interest kinda faded when I started seeing art made of "sheep excrement"...yep, sheep poop!

Since John was working, I took the afternoon to do a little shopping then headed back to the hotel to rest my feet and decide on dinner.  Unfortunately, after I sat for a few minutes, my "puppies" did not want to walk very far for dinner.  So, I went a couple doors down from the hotel and had a delicious dinner - while I did some people watching!  What else are you supposed to do when you're alone?!?

The next morning I was able to catch the changing on the guards.  (Actually, our hotel was only about 1 minute from Buckingham Palace, so I was able to see the ceremony several times! But it was so amazing every time!)

I ventured over to Westminster Abbey and was in awe!!!!! I couldn't take pictures and that killed me, but I got a call from John around noon (I had forgotten to silence my phone and I was viewing a crypt when my phone rang---felt very bad!!!!) and he said that his meetings had been cut short and that he was going back to the hotel to work.  My bad influence had him meet me at W.A. and tour together!!  The history around us was...I don't know how to explain it....something that you couldn't imagine!  Handel, Kipling, Newton, Tennyson, Chaucer, Dickens -- all buried and memorialized in beautiful statues, carvings and monuments!

This inscription is on the exterior of Westminster Abbey.  I love it!

The next day, John and I took the subway and toured the British Library...
and the British Museum....

In awe of the Rosetta Stone

The ceiling of the museum amazed me!!!!

Mummies from 800 BC, with details on how they were preserved. (kinda gross, but interesting!)

Me posing in the "tele" booth!

Piccadilly Square at night

After dinner, John and I tried to deliver pizza to the Queen, but no one answered... RUDE!!!!

Earlier, when we had passed through Piccadilly Square, we saw Mtv filming a video...quite interesting. John wouldn't jump in the background.

Pretty street showing their English love!

This is John standing in front of his UK office...not happy with me taking his picture!!!

On our last day, we went to the Imperial War Museum.  Soooooo incredible!  Pictures were allowed, but they just couldn't do it justice!  The collections within these walls were unbelievable!  Uniforms, weapons, documents -- from almost every war, under one roof---amazing!  However, I can't find words to describe the Holocaust exhibit...really, I can't.  So sad and unbelievable -- sickening!
A portion from the Berlin Wall.

A sweet family who asked me to take their photo offered to take our pic.  So, we jumped on the chance to have a couples pic!  Very bad hair day (no flat iron and misty rain), but I wouldn't trade this pic for anything! An unbelievable trip of a lifetime with the love of my life! 

Another dream comes true~