There really is no place like home.

Our flights were problem-free. We had wheelchair help arranged at each place, from check-in to baggage. What a wonderful help that was. You get taken to the front of the line, and everyone seems to be perfectly okay with that. All our helpers were polite, kind, and efficient.

It’s very hot here in our corner of PA. Supposed to be record-setting highs tomorrow, up to 100. Ugh. I’m missing the cool mornings and evenings near Oxford. We had wonderful weather the whole time we were there. This heat saps my energy. I’m looking around at all that needs to be done, and I don’t want to do any of it! We do have central air, which is a huge blessing, but there’s just something about the atmosphere that changes with that kind of heat.

I was just looking through Dan’s pictures, and this one made me hungry πŸ™‚ This was the meal they prepared to celebrate our 50th anniversary. The rosemary was cut fresh from the garden. The aromas of the rosemary, meat, and veggies roasting was unbelievable. Sooooooo good!

I can’t remember if the Peacock Garden was at Blenheim or Warwick, but this photo perfectly captures the peacock in full display:

Josh, Victoria’s boyfriend, is from New Zealand. He certainly met a lot of us all at one time–not sure, maybe that’s not a good thing. Hope we didn’t scare him off πŸ™‚

Ivan with his mom, Sheila.

You can see that when I get started posting everyone’s photos, it’s hard to stop. They all bring back such a good time.

Well. It’s good to be home, and we have memories of a lifetime with everyone who was there.

I’m hoping to get back to my regular blogging tomorrow with Sunday Morning Coffee, and then back to Ecclesiastes on Monday.

Catching Up

I haven’t posted since we went to Blenheim, a week ago today. Lots and lots has happened, and I can’t sort out what happened on what day, so I’m just going to hit the highlights, along with some photos. There were 15 of us, so we didn’t always go as one big group. When we could, we wandered to whatever grabbed our interest, and made a meeting place and time to re-gather.

We didn’t go to the most well-known Stonehedge, but a smaller one that is nearby.

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Avebury Stones
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Breakfast in an Oxford cafe that was the first room in which the professors gathered for counsel, back in 13–something πŸ™‚
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Lots of sheep in Avebury. You needed to watch where you put your feet πŸ™‚
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Salisbury Cathedral
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The Magna Carta is inside this structure, to protect it from vandalism and damaging sun rays.
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Lef to right, Ivan, Alayna, Kyle, outside Salisbury Cathedral
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Sheila got a good shot of the best-known Stonehenge made of blocks of fudge πŸ™‚
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Ken is taking a turn pushing my chair just outside of Salisbury.

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Alayna (in chair) and Victoria
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We opted for the Thai restaurant. Giggling squid really didn’t appeal to most of us πŸ™‚
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Alayna and Maria
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The whole crew. Photo was taken by Victoria’s friend Katerina
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Dan and Maria
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The Womping Tree, used in 2007 Harry Potter movie, grounds of Blenheim Palace

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Outside the back yard at Dan and Maria’s place
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Bunch of goobers pushing Granny up a very small hill πŸ™‚
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My favorite rose, the yellow Tea Rose edged with pink. Love them.
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The rose gardens at Blenheim were a total delight
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This old woman kept showing up with our group. We finally decided to take her home with us πŸ™‚

Katerina with Alayna and Victoria in the rose garden at Blenheim

There’s more, but this is getting too long already.

We fly out of Heathrow at 8:30 tomorrow morning, have a layover in Frankfurt, and then nonstop to Philly. I’m looking forward to being home, but I’m really going to miss all the people we’ve spent nearly two weeks with.

Special thanks to Mike, who has done the lion’s share of planning and has been a driver; also to Janan, who has taken on driving on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong side of the car πŸ™‚ Thanks to Dan and Maria for housing everyone, and for helping to find a lovely place for Terry and me to stay at night. Almost everyone got involved in the cooking, which was SO good! On Sunday, they prepared a feast, literally, in celebration of Terry and me and of our 50th anniversary in June.

One evening, we all gathered around the piano and sang for maybe two hours, maybe longer. Ken even found a violin, and it was so good to hear him play. Sheila manned the piano, and she always does such a lovely job.

In Oxford, we came across a Baptist church that was open to viewing. At one point, Mike and Janan started singing. Connell, Kyle and I joined them, and we were caught on video by the little elderly man who was the welcoming committee. He was so pleased to have us there and listen to us. He gathered us all around when it was time to leave, and blessed with a heartfelt prayer on our journeys.

There’s more, but I think it’s past time for me to stop.

Thursday and Friday

Thursday, the 11th, I was feeling very tired. The plan for the day was London, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I’ve been relatively pain-free for the last couple of days, which is something I want to keep on doing. Anyway, Maria couldn’t go because she was working; Dan had some things to attend to, so I decided to spend the day at their place.

When they all got home, Ken told me I’d made a good decision. It would have been hard to get me on and off the subway (excuse me, underground) and I can’t move fast at all. Mike agreed, good choice for me to stay home. They went to the Tower Bridge, and then to see the crown jewels; after that, the British Museum. I have seen all that, so it was good to just chill. The only trouble is, I was reading; I’d pulled a cosy blanket up over me to my chin, and I fell asleep almost instantly. I slept for three hours. NEVER do I do that during the day, because if I do I can’t sleep at night.

So I was awake until somewhere around 3a.m., and that makes me a very unhappy camper for the rest of the day.

Once Maria got home, we had a quick supper, and then enjoyed a walk through the village where Dan and Maria live. Beautiful old houses, lots of flowers, lots of friendly people. They’re in a good place.

Today, the 12th, we drove up to Blenheim Palace, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. It’s a huge estate, acres and acres of woods, river, lake, gorgeous old trees. The palace itself is an amazing place.

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We took the audio-guided tour, in which you are given a headset and what looks like an iPhone. In the phone, there are taped descriptions and histories about the rooms and the furnishings. It was most interesting–lots of history I was mostly familiar with, and beautiful big portraits of family members for a very long time ago. I loved the tapestries that covered entire walls, all stitched by hand.

We also went out to the fountain garden, and then to the incredibly beautiful rose garden. I could have sat there among the flowers for a very long time. It was a gorgeous day, sunshine and clouds and a delightful breeze.

I enjoyed the rooms that were dedicated to Winston Churchill. Lots of interesting photos, pictures of him working on the paintings he loved to create, war history, and so one. For a history buff like me and many of the others in our group, it was a real treat.

We were hungry, so we trekked to a Chinese restaurant that took great care of us. Our group numbers 15, and of course everyone ordered something different. They took it all in stride, and we were pleasantly stuffed by the time we were finished.

The drive home, or a drive anywhere here, scares me to death. They drive on the wrong side πŸ™‚ I have to force myself not to watch, because cars coming toward us always seem to be coming right at us. Very hard to get used to. But we stopped for some ice cream to have when we got home, so that was worth the trip. Right now, the younger part of the group is in the kitchen playing some kind of game. Judging from the noise level, I’d say they’re enjoying themselves. The rest of us are looking at all the pictures taken today, catching up on email and blogs ( :)) and just kind of winding down.

Took no naps today, and it’s deliciously cool outside. I plan to sleep very well tonight.

Sunday Through Wednesday Morning

We left home around 10:30 on Sunday morning.I had arranged with the airline to have transport (wheelchair) for both of us, because neither of us is good at walking a distance these day. The escorts who pushed our chairs were wonderful. They were kind, helpful, and completely pleasant. They took us right to the front of every line, and no one was upset or unhappy with that. We breezed right through TSA, and then they wheeled us through to our gate. It’s the first time I’d ever experienced that service, and it sure saved us time and a lot of pain not to have to walk all that way.

Our escorts left us in the seats designated for the handicapped, and told us they would return to help us board. Again, we were taken to the head of the line and right to our seats on our first flight.

When we landed in Toronto, we were again met by two delightful women who tended to us until we were in the right gate. But between the Toronto flight and the London flight, I lost my Kindle e-reader. My own fault. I had dropped into the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me, and totally forgot about it. We have a report in the Air Canada’s lost and found, but I really don’t have much hope It will be returned. I need to get in touch with Amazon and tell them not to accept any new orders. Also, I will file a claim with the airline. I’m not going to do that until we get home, though, because there’s an off chance that someone will turn it in to lost and found, and they have our mailing address.

We arrive at Heathrow around 8:30 a.m. Ken’s family came in around noon, and we all piled into a couple of vans and drove up to Oxford, and the village of Islip where Dan and Maria live It’s a wonderful little village, just like you read about in Agatha Christie mystery novels or Jane Austen’s books. Dan and Maria are enjoying their time here, wishing they could find a way to stay after Maria finishes her degree.

It was so much fun when we were all finally together in one place. Lots of hugs and joking and just enjoying each other. Two people to add to the mix: Katerina, who has been Victoria’s friend since they were six years olf; and Josh, who is Victoria’s boyfriend. He’s a very pleasant guy, and and great cook. He and Janan have done major food prep. Victoria likes to cook, too. And I find absolutely no stress in having the opportunity to sit back and let them do it without my participation.

On Tuesday, we went in to Oxford. What a cool place! Amazing artisanship in the old buildings. You can almost envision Harry Potter and his buddies scooting around on brooms πŸ™‚

We went through the University of Oxford Museum of Natural History. You could spend all day, every day, looking at the amazing collections there, for at least a month and maybe more. They have lots of fossils from dinosaurs, which I’ve always found fascinating. The size of those animals is astonishing.

From there, we went to the Botanical Gardens in Oxford. Oh, my, how beautiful! There are all sorts of things, but I especially loved the rows of all kinds of flowers. They’re planted in thick rows, and walking between the rows tends to stir up the scents from the various blooms. I want to go back there before we leave and just spend a couple of hours–or more–enjoying the color, variety, and aroma. It’s a delightful place.

I stole some pictures from my daughter-in-law Janan, who posted them on her Facebook page. If they don’t show up here, you can find myt FB easily. On your FB, just search for Linda Fullmer Kreger.

I’m sure there will be more pics.

The days are already flying by so fast! My back is holding up fairly well, but is still recovering from all those hours in an airplane.

One of my favorite things is just to sit and listen to my family talking and laughing together. Memories that will never fade.

Our Car Story: aka God’s Goodness!

Word Press informed me this morning that I haven’t posted anything in TWO WHOLE DAYS! I guess it’s nice of them to track me that closely. Maybe. Not sure.

Anyway, I want to share with you how God has blessed us lately.

About two weeks ago, a huge thunderstorm rolled across my corner of Pennsylvania. I was at work in Coopersburg, had just finished with my last client of the day, when the hail started. The hail wasn’t gigantic, but it lasted for several minutes.

This is the actual size

Because the wind and rain were so heavy, I had already decided to wait until things settled down again before I drove home. So I stood at the window of my office and watched the hail pummel my dearly loved car. We’d gotten it in September 2018, not even a whole year ago. It was an ’09 model, but in very good condition. We got it for a song because, as the dealer told us, it was scheduled to be sent for auction the very next day. It’s a Cadillac. Imagine! We’ve never had such a classy car. Well, unless you count Terry’s 1964 GTO. Yeah, that was classy.

So now my beautiful Caddy has tons of dimples, concentrated on the trunk lid and the top of the car. When Terry contacted our insurance, he was told that the smartest thing to do would be to total it because it’s an older car and would cost more than it’s worth to repair the damage.

Total my car? NOOOooooo!!

Now, I’ve never been terribly attached to material possessions. They come and go, right? I admit to loving my teapots and my dolls, but they, too, are transitory. However, I am a woman of (usually) great common sense, and I knew we’d been given the most sensible advice.

Then they told us how much they would give us for the car.

My word! SO much more than we expected! I was amazed, and so was Terry. They didn’t base it on what we had actually paid for it, but on the real value of the car and the cost of replacing it. Thank You Lord, for this gift!

The search, then, started. Terry spent a lot of quality time with the computer, looking for a newer car that was within our reach because of the insurance payment. He’s a lot more patient than I am about doing that sort of thing.

Cutting right to the point, we now have a beautiful 2013 model in the garage. It’s a bit smaller than the Caddy (it’s a Ford Fusion Hybrid) but I’m already learning to enjoy the feel and the bells and whistles. First time we’ve had a car I can sync with my cell phone; or that has GPS installed, or shows you exactly where you are when you’re parking, backing out, etc.

Did we NEED such a nice car? No. But God has told us that He can and will supply our needs (John 14:13-14; Philippians 4:19). We prayed for His leading, and there is no doubt that He led us to the car He had chosen for us.

In I Timothy 6:17, we read that God has given us all things richly to enjoy. I believe it is a delight to the Father to give us what we need and even what we simply want. And He went way above and beyond on this one, for both the Cadillac and the Ford. He knew what was going to happen. The way was already there; we just had to find it.

We are thankful.

Catching Up

I missed doing a post yesterday, and this one won’t be long. I’ll be back on track tomorrow with my Sunday Morning Coffee post.

I’ve been fighting something–a cold, laryngitis, cough. No fever, but it’s wearing me out. It has slowed me down, and I doing everything I can think of to get rid of it–except going to the doctor. Since there’s no fever, I’m pretty sure I’ll be told it’s just a virus and to do what I’m already doing, which is all the old-fashioned home remedies your mom used on you, including a mixture of honey and lemon that my husband just brought me πŸ™‚ This seems to be an annual event for me, one I would be very happy NOT to indulge in again!

I hope, if you’re a steady reader, that you are enjoying this final trip through the book of Isaiah as much as I am. It is easy to become discouraged, isn’t it? There’s not much right going on politically, although there has been a resurgence in our economy and progress in some other areas. But it isn’t over until God says it’s over, and I’ve read the back of the book–and we win πŸ™‚

Another Injection

It didn’t hurt to get out of bed this morning.Β  It didn’t hurt when I sat down for my coffee and breakfast. The only little twitch I’m still feeling is just above my right hip, but the doctor said it could be twoΒ  weeks before the medicineΒ  takes full effect.

The thing that bothers me is that it was two weeks after my first injection that I started to feel the ominous pinching and aching.Β  It’s been only six weeks since that first injection. I could hardly walk upright when I got to theΒ  doc’s office yesterday.

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Well, much better today, and praying the improvement continues.Β  I can have only one more injection between now and Oct. 2019; you can have three in a calendar year.Β  Limited because it’s a very heavy-duty steroid.Β  Too much isn’t good for you.

The bottom line, for me, is to be thankful that this treatment exists; that it does give me relief from the pain, if only for a few months at a time. There is no cure for what’s happening in my back. Pain treatment has improved a great deal since I remember my mom going through what I’m experiencing now. Both my sister and I inherited her crumbling back; neither of us remembers her getting these injections.Β  She died at 87, about 6 1/2 years ago, and before they put her on morphine, she would often flinch, close her eyes, and say something about the pain shooting across her lower back. well, Mom, I truly understand now.

Anyway.Β  Today I’m off to teach my homeschool class on The Constitution and current events.Β  Fun, interesting, good bunch of kids.Β  And I can teach sitting down πŸ™‚