Tower Bridge…

and the Tower of London.

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Along with Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge tops Great Britain’s list of architectural icons that make up London’s distinctive skyline. While not the first bridge to span the Thames, Tower Bridge is the most recognizable and is often mistakenly referred to as “London Bridge.” While Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous bridges, few know its rich history.

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During its original construction, Tower Bridge was considered the most impressive and advanced of bascule bridges. At the time, the hydraulics used to open the bridge were powered by steam yet still able to complete the feat within one minute. In 1976, the steam-powered pumping engines were replaced by ones powered by electricity and oil.

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Tower Bridge is the only bridge on the Thames that can be raised and lowered to allow ships to pass. Supposedly, witnessing the Tower Bridge opening brings good luck because it’s such a rare occurrence. Visitors can ensure their luck by checking the Bridge Lift Times on the official Tower Bridge website.

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For many, the famous nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down” conjures up images of the Tower Bridge. These individuals assume the rhyme refers to the raising and lowering of the bridge, but they are mistaken. The real London Bridge was located approximately a mile to the west of where Tower Bridge was constructed.
Throughout the centuries, a number of bridges have been constructed on the site of the actual London Bridge, some of which did fall into disrepair before being replaced. One of these bridges was sold to an American entrepreneur by the name of Robert P. McCulloch in 1968. McCulloch reconstructed the bridge as a tourist attraction in the desert city of Lake Havasu, Arizona.

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The Tower of London has a rich and brutal history. You can read all about it on links at this page and others.

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The Crown Jewels are housed at the Tower of London. You can read about the history and meaning behind many of the jewels here.

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Today Katie and I are on the road to that foreign country to our North! We love to use our passports. We’re having quite a cold snap here and I hope our trip will be without snow. We are looking forward to being at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford ringing in the season with our Old Fashioned Cookie class. I guess we’ll need to choose a couple of our favorite Christmas Cd’s to enjoy on the road.

It’s a Christmas miracle at this old house. I mailed all my Christmas cards yesterday and now I feel I can relax for the rest of this week until we pick up our tree on Sunday! What do you like to see behind you during this busy time of year?

On the Way…

…to Gaviota for the wedding we attended on August 10th we headed off Hwy 101 just North of Santa Barbara to pick up Josh and Laura at the Santa Barbara Airport.

IMGP0709Josh and Laura had to travel on Saturday because Josh was directing Junior Highers at Lakeside Bible Camp for the week. They arrived after 1:00 pm and we were all hungry so we headed to Goleta Beach.

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We ate at Beachside Bar-Cafe.

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We missed Andrew and Dan but enjoyed the fact that the 5 of us were able to be together.

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Caleb & Marie

We all enjoyed something different. Dear had the fish and chips and I went with the great local treat of Santa Maria Tri-Tip.

IMGP0715There was a boat launch at the end of this small pier and they used this tractor to haul the boat off the pier once they lifted it out of the water.

From here we stopped in Hollister for some donuts before we headed farther north along the coast for the wedding.

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Girl CousinsThe girl cousins! I had to lift this one from my niece Melissa. Somehow I missed it with my own camera! Looks like Marie didn’t make it in the shot, either.

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It was so good to be with our kids. Katie and Andrew are driving West right now from North Carolina headed for Salt Lake City to visit Andrew’s mother and sister before they finish their road trip here in Seattle. We are busy getting their room ready. Dear will finish the trim on the new bedroom door and re-install the closet doors.

We got a lot accomplished over the weekend. Dear’s closet was completed and ready to get all his clothes back upstairs from the basement. I’m busy organizing my new office upstairs in the sitting room off our master bedroom. Little by little and inch by inch everything is getting more organized and fresh around here.

August is just ticking away. What do you have going these last weeks of August.

Two Days Filled With Love…

Celebrating a new beautiful beginning and celebrating a lifelong time of loving and caring pretty much sums up our whirlwind trip to Southern California.

My heart is full and my heart is heavy…

MomAfter the beautiful wedding on Saturday we packed up and headed to my mom and pop’s apartment for a short visit before our flight home. We had a wonderful time around my mom’s hospital bed where she shared her favorite verses from the Bible with us with some added words of counsel. She was able to walk into the living area for a while to eat and watch the video of the wedding of grandson Caleb and sweet Marie that was recorded with my sister’s IPad during the wedding ceremony.  By this point she had to go back to her bed and rest. Dear, Josh, Laura, Katie and I said our goodbyes knowing this would be the last time we would see her alive.  Heavy…

Life…just like this post is always mixed with Joy and Sorrow…isn’t it?

Now that I am home I will be able to go through all the photos from the weekend and share with you in depth the beautiful wedding we were able to enjoy.  Here’s a little tease…

IMGP0831Before I go here is one of passages my mom shared with us when we were around her bed yesterday…

Jude 20, 21 (NASB)

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

Jude 1:20 (The Message)

20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

It was so good to walk into our home last night to the smell of new floors. I’m looking forward to catching up on what you have been up to here in bloggy land.

At the Villages

During our short time in Winnipeg and Steinbach we had book signings in 3 different Ten Thousand Villages. Each one of the stores served food that the staff prepared from our cookbook. If you aren’t familiar with Ten Thousand Villages here is a short description of who they are.

TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES

A Fair Trade Retailer We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

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You might want to have something to eat before you scroll through this post. Just thought I’d give you fair warning..

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At two of the stores we ended up right next to the jewelery. I ended up coming home with 4 pieces of jewelery. That was good marketing for sure.

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Have you shopped in a Ten Thousand Villages store? This was the store in Steinbach. Our last 2 signings of our days in Manitoba were at 2 different Ten Thousand Villages in Winnipeg.

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This time we were right across from the jewelery instead of sitting in front of the jewelery. At this store we met many people who had connections to some of our own girls. This was TTV Henderson.

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Judy was able to meet up with family for breakfast who dropped her off for our signing.

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This little guy was my favorite fan for sure. He was so interested in getting one of our books and being able to enjoy some of the recipes. He never left our table even when his sister next to him found toys to play with in the store. He was more interested in making sure he got a book from us.IMGP0327-001

He watched each of us intently to make sure we signed the book just right. It was so much fun to talk to him.

Our next signing would be at the larger Ten Thousand Villages in Winnipeg but before we headed there we were invited to lunch at Margaret’s home who is Charlotte’s cousin. She was working at the store the whole time we were signing and left just minutes before we did but still had a wonderful table and food ready for us at her home nearby.

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We had a wonderful time at Margaret’s table, thank you so much! This was the first time that I had Obst Moos (a cold fruit soup) and it was delicious. Margaret said she followed Charlotte’s recipe in our first cookbook. From here we went to our last signing in Winnipeg (TTV Plaza Dr.) where more dishes from our cookbook were served.

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Genevieve made my Dear’s Tomato Rice Soup and it was delicious. I wish I would have thought to take a photo of sweet Genevieve next to the soup. By this time my head was spinning from all the fun! I still have a couple more adventures to document from the Mennonite Girls trip to Manitoba.

In the meantime my Dear is back from France and we spent a nice Father’s Day at church and brunch and then enjoying some relaxation as each of our kids called to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. We’ll celebrate next weekend with our kids who are near. On Saturday to help the hours go by before Dear came home my sister Lana and I went on a Secret Garden Tour in a neighboring city. We had a great time and I’ll be sharing about that soon, too. Hope you had a nice weekend. Spring is coming to an end. What are your plans for the last week of Spring?

Welcome Here!

Everywhere we went in Canada I was struck with this greeting “Welcome Here”. It’s not a greeting used across the board in the U.S.A. but I’d love to start using it at my house. This post is about the places were were “welcomed here” apart from our book signing locations. I’ve already shared about Charlotte’s home and our wonderful lunch there.

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We were also treated to a wonderful meal at the home of Betty’s sister, Norma. What fun we had as Norma’s dear husband served us the meal she planned and prepared. (The Photo above is from our Women Refreshed at the Well Lodgings)

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Jack and Norma

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A lovely table set for all of us with appetizers before our main meal began.

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Not only did Jack serve us but he also washed up all the dishes while we had dessert in the Sun Porch. A great example of a servant that we are all called to be…

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All Eight of us tried to trick Norma into giving us the recipe for this delicious pasta dish she made but she held her ground and kept her secret…so far. Time will tell if we can replicate it!

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We were going to take these great little pudding/yogurt pies home with us to have at our retreat center but it turned out that we had time enough to eat them in the Sun Porch. Delicious! Aren’t they packaged nicely? That little pouch on the side is granola.

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We were so glad to be able to spend time with Betty’s sister and Jack. Thank you so much for welcoming us here! Aren’t these sisters beautiful!?

Dear called from France today and it was so good to hear his relaxed voice. Things are a little quiet at his conference since so many travelers were delayed because of air traffic strikes in France. He’s eaten some Octopus and a Risotto dish that he sent me photos of. He sees me take so many photos of food that it has rubbed off on him. Here’s a photo that he took just outside the conference center.

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Marseille, France

Tuesday night I was able to do something that qualifies for my bucket list and I’ll be sharing the experience really soon with lots of photos.

I’m watching and praying for many of our blogging friends in areas of extreme weather and in areas where wildfires are raging. May lives be spared and damage minimal. Blessings and remember you are “Welcome Here” anytime…

Traveling ThroughTime Zones…

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I’m a bit dizzy headed and hope to have some clear thoughts soon to share about all the wonderful people we met and places we saw while in Winnipeg and Steinbach. We arrived from Winnipeg back to Abbotsford late on Saturday night and after a quick sleep at Judy’s I drove home to Seattle. I pulled into my garage at 6:30 a.m.

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A doctored up shot of the sunrise from I-5 this morning. After a full nights sleep tonight I’ll be catching up with what I’ve missed while traveling cyber free.

Who Would Have Guessed…

…I left sunny Seattle and flew to overcast misty Southern California. I’ll leave you with something else that I left behind…

Our apple tree is full of pretty blossoms. I’ll share more later.

I’m in my hotel room in Costa Mesa and will be heading over to Huntington Beach for dinner at my sister’s soon. Tomorrow the rest of my family arrives. Let the celebrations begin…

Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele

We are praying for all the victims of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. I can’t imagine what all these families are going through right now. Hats off to the first responders and the people of Boston who were so ready to help. May God comfort the suffering.

I’m winding down on my Milan posts and today I’ll share shots of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which is named after the first King of the Kingdom of Italy and the oldest mall in Italy.

I didn’t go for the twirl on the Bull but I enjoyed watching others twirl on their heels.

I guess I’m not a design shopper as I didn’t feel tempted to go into any of the shops.

No shopping in the oldest galleria but I really enjoyed all the old Architecture and details in the Galleria.

The country we will be visiting with our oldest and his lovely lady is England. Josh and Laura have never been there and it will be fun exploring some old sights with them and discovering some new ones while we celebrate Dear turning 60. 2013 is fast becoming a major travel year for us between Dear’s conferences, family events, and the Mennonite Girls book launches. Praying already for God to go before us.

Psalm 121:8

The Message (MSG)

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

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I’m borrowing Judy’s idea and posting a snapshot from Milan.

We arrived safe and sound via Amsterdam and had a walk about the town in search of something to eat. Even though we are very tired from our flight and no sleep for 24 hours we had a nice time remembering it is my birthday today. It was fun to come upon this city street with the name of my high school alma mater.

Tomorrow we take a train to Lake Como and spend the day before Dear has to get busy with his business trip obligations!

Blessings…

If It’s Tuesday…

…this must be Belgium Chilliwack! Do any of you remember that film from the 60’s? Anyhoo my life seems to be on a whirlwind tour right now so I thought this title appropriate. Today Katie and I are on our way to Chilliwack, B.C. (not Belgium)  to pick up a little gift I ordered for my niece’s upcoming bridal shower from Wink’s .  We are meeting up with some special residents of Chilliwack for lunch while we are there!

These next photos have nothing to do with our trip North across the line. These are random shots, one from the past and new photos from what is springing up around this old house.

It seems I have always wondered what to do with my hands when someone is taking a photo of me. This is a photo from the 50’s in front of our home on Oak Street in Pico Rivera, California.

What a fun surprise to see these on Monday morning. I sort of remember replanting them from containers I had inside last Spring. Are they Narcissus?

My Lenten Rose never ceases to delight! What an appropriate name as it always blooms during Lent!

Such a humble plant with it’s face looking down. I have to get on my knees to take photos…another appropriate stance for this season and always!

More than usual this season of Lent has brought some significant sorrow to the door of friends and to us. We stand with them in hope for better days ahead and ultimately for the Hope we have as believers for what Christ has done for us and what He promises us.

My dear sister-in-law Nina who passed away in 1993 from complications due to Cystic Fibrosis had these verses highlighted in her personal journal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Praying for God’s light to shine through his presence in us to the world around us.

Hoping your week is going well and that you have hope for your future…