Old Manor House…

…a luxury Bed and Breakfast in South Warwickshire, on the edge of the Cotswolds. This 16th Century home was our favorite. This great house is seven miles from Stratford Upon Avon and just one and a half hours from London.

We had a very good experience here and if we would travel back to England we’d book more than a night at this lovely manor to explore the area.

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16th Century homes have some very unique features. Josh and Laura got the duck your head room!

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Loved the windows…

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One of the fun highlights of our time here was meeting Geoff and Joan, an older couple who were staying at the Old Manor House while we were there. We had a lovely time talking and getting to know their interesting history.

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It was so interesting to learn that Joan was one of the “Call the Midwives” that served after World War II in the London Area. I asked her if she had seen the BBC series and she said that she really has enjoyed it and how accurate the show is.

I didn’t get a photo of our hosts but did get one of their adult son who was helping out while we were there with breakfast and taking care of a new litter of pups.

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Speaking of breakfast…it was a delicious version of the traditional English breakfast.





We highly recommend the Old Manor House. Tomorrow I’ll share photos from our short walk to “The Halford” where we enjoyed our Sunday Pub Dinner.

Back on the home front…

My niece Michelle shared these words from my dear old Pop on Sunday when they visited him…
“You know, it’s hard without your Baba. I have tears. But God is with me. And so I get up and go on again. God is love. And when His love is in you, you feel His comfort. I’m thanking Him for all He’s given me. He is good.”
Today when I talked to him on the phone he said, “I’m not going to lie, it’s hard.” We talked about how great it is that he has good memories. “Yes, he said, God has been good to us.” By the way today he went to “Staplers” (Staples) to buy a board so he could put together a jigsaw puzzle Ryan and Michelle bought him…
Thank you for remembering him in your prayers!!

Our Finale was London…

And our favorite phrase while in London for our last 3 days was, “Oh the humanity”. Such a sea of people and an amazing ethnic diversity. Never ever go to England and miss out on the countryside. London is fabulous but it is a completely different experience from the quiet of the countryside.

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This is Tower Bridge in London over the river Thames with the HMS Belfast permanently docked since 1971.

On Tuesday I was able to get some laundry done and organize some thoughts which is always good. I enjoyed visiting some of your blogs and seeing what’s new in your corner of the world. Talking to my sister voice to voice this morning and getting all the details of my mom’s last minutes was good for my soul. I talked to my pop for the first time since my mom died and that was good for both of us. What a sweet man my pop is. Looking forward to hugging him on Thursday afternoon…

Before I Retreat…

…here are a few more views from our road trip and overnight news!

I could have screamed “stop” every few minutes as we drove on these country roads in Eastern Washington. I love to see these old barns.

I thought of my friend Judy from Mennonite Girls Can Cook and her beautiful blog “My Front Porch” when we passed this sign.

We had dinner with our son at this Mexican Restaurant in Chewelah and we will return here on future trips to this area.

And now for our breaking overnight news…

Appearances can be deceiving! This is our Kenmore Elite 3 door refrigerator manufactured by LG.

Doesn’t she look like a perfect appliance? Pretty on the outside but we are totally in the dark on the inside!

We had quite a frightening discovery last night before we went to bed. I opened the refrigerator and smelled a very strong odor that smelled like electric wires burning. I called Dear downstairs and we investigated further and realized the lights in the refrigerator were not going off when the doors were closed and had produced an amazing amount of heat that started melting the plastic light compartment. With difficulty Dear disconnected the fixture and removed it totally from the refrigerator. We were so glad that we realized what was going on before we went to bed for the night. It could have easily resulted in a fire. The food items that were close to the light fixture were quite hot to the touch.

I think you can easily see the burn marks on the sockets.

If you look on the inside of this plastic light unit you can see all the melting of the plastic. We are in the process of filing reports with consumer product safety commission and talking with Sears on what our next steps should be. We hear that if Sears doesn’t agree to fix this problem as a product defect it will cost us $500 to fix it. We are not sure we want to invest the $500 for this 6 year old unit. I’ve been out looking at new units. In the meantime we are in the dark and we use a flashlight if we need to. But…my refrigerator woes hold nothing to the other news that we received today.

UPDATE: Bloggy friends are the best! Sam from Eastern Washington emailed me with information and a recall phone # for my refrigerator issue and I called and a new part has been ordered and a technician scheduled to come out and replace the part in our refrigerator. We’ll be asking him some burning questions when he gets here! Thanks Sam from Eastern Washington!!

For those of you that are still reading, life has been tough this week for my loved ones and in turn for me . I realized tonight as I made yet another “comfort meal” how hard things in the body of Christ affect all of us. There is joy in the midst of the sorrow but we suffer none the less with those who are grieving. A young man died unexpectedly and my brother’s church community is coming together to hold each other in their grief. My brother will probably perform the service for this dear friend of his sons.  We know he is with Jesus but the earthly shock still needs to be absorbed. A little baby girl in the womb is struggling to stay alive and we pray for a miracle that she will survive. Another dear one is losing all her hair after her 2nd chemo treatment and staying brave and trusting in her Lord. So many things to pray about. I said today that our prayer lists are heavy but God is good and I am so grateful that Jesus is our advocate at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…

Count It All Joy…

My friend Kathy B. from Count it all Joy

Kathy B. began her last struggle with her illness on August 2nd.

Since August 2nd many emails and texts have been  going back and forth among friends and family who could not stand watch at the hospital or be with her when she was released to Hospice care in her home. Here is one from Kathy’s sister in law.

“It is truly a blessing to see the many friends who have rallied around Kathy and Bill and who have bathed them in prayer and love. Kathy’s battle is continuing to be epic in her strength during this long illness. She has had this cancer for over 28 years and is the worldwide longest survivor of this form of ugly cancer. My sister-in-law has used this sickness to grow into a “woman after God’s own heart”.  Her witness is evident in the testimony of all the people who have been visiting and posting messages. Our lives have been richly blessed by her strength in her weakness.”
Kathy survived her hospital and I.C.U. experience regaining consciousness and being able to be taken off the respirator. She was released for hospice care at home where she was able to communicate and enjoy her own home surrounded by the comforts familiar to her. She helped plan her funeral service and was miraculously able to get out of her bed and enjoy going outside to her garden. The beginning of Fall brought more hurdles for Kathy as her lungs filled with fluids and she had difficulty breathing. Her “Cute Boy” and my dear friend Jeanie were at her side while she struggled through her last hours. She went from the arms of her “Cute Boy” to the arms of Jesus early on Sunday September 25th.

I Am Standing on the Sea Shore

I am standing on the sea shore,
A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:
“She is gone.”

Gone! Where?
Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,
not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
“She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:
“There she comes”
– an that is dying.

Bishop Brent
1862 – 1926

Her sister Jeanie married my cousin Jim. Jeanie and Kathy started a blog together called The Matson Sisters – becoming our Mother. I took this photo of Jeanie and Kathy from that blog.

Kathy and Jeanie lived a few hours from each other. They talked everyday on the phone and each morning Kathy would pick a hymn for them to sing together.

Before blogging I only knew Kathy as “Jeanie’s sister”. Over the years we’d see each other at a major family function here and there. After Kathy started her blog “Count it all Joy” and I had my blog we became real good bloggy buddies. I grew to love her and appreciate her just as much as I did my dear friend Jeanie. I thank God that our blogs brought us together in a more intimate way. I learned a lot from Kathy. I got to see her in person at the weddings of her nephews, my cousin’s sons. Two of the photos above are from Ben and Kristin’s wedding. I said on facebook after Kathy went into I.C.U. that when I was with Kathy I felt like I had seen Jesus. Those who suffer much reflect Him more. I’m going to miss my dear bloggy friend Kathy B. and I look forward to seeing her again in heaven.

I stole this photo of Kathy with her Cute Boy from Kathy’s blog…

Kathy B.! I’m looking forward to sitting at the Banqueting Table in heaven with you. Love you dearly…I’ll see you later.