Wednesday, November 4, 2015

England!






 As we left Wales with full hearts we entered England with an excitement to see people and places that have changed me in so many ways. Passing by Chester we felt we needed to swing by and get a late lunch and see the awesome cathedral.

Chester Town Hall




Chester Cathedral 






Our first people stop was Katie-Jane's home in Castle Donnington. Katie is an absolute delight! She has always been and always will be. Since lat time I saw her she has fallen in love, got married and had three kids. She is as lovely as ever and the most glorious mummy; those kiddies are so lucky. Having dinner and visiting with them was truly a treat and I left feeling blessed to know such people.


Oscar, Katie's youngest



Katie and I  




I was looking forward with great anticipation to see my old (400 year old) home situated on Ashby rd off the A152 in the rolling hills between Shepshed and Belton; Blackbrook Farm House. As a young teenager I though my life had taken a turn for the worse when I discovered were would be moving into this historic, cold, run down, house whose floors sagged in the middle, stairs creaked and heating system moaned. Luckily, I was so utterly wrong. Memories from this home have been etched on my heart and glisten with wonder as I fondly recall it as my home. I remember the magic.

You can imagine the disappointment I felt when I saw it was over grown with neglect. My heart sank. It sank even lower when the lady inside wrapped in a robe screamed at her son and then as a witch irritably spoke to us. What had happened to the place of gathering, love, welcoming hearts, laughter and family? Now all that radiated from it's walls was the cold air.

After snapping some photos we slumped into the car and drove away. The low clouds seemed to press on my heart. I had dreamed to visiting Blackbrook Farm House time and time again. I had wondered how I would feel as I would look upon a place that had such influence in my life but not once had I anticipated I would feel so disconnected from it.

The magic was gone... but where?

In the end Blackbrook Farm House is just a house, an old building nothing more nothing less. The magic occurred because we lived there, we made it our sanctuary because we dreamed, we created, we grew as a family, we worked together, we made memories, we made it a home, our home!

We were the magic.

Magic does not reside in things or places it resides within us!













Feeling a little deflated with the realization of Blackbrook Farm house's abandonment we made our way to the Abbey that was just up the road. This place is sacred and precious. I have visited many times and always feel close to God when I am there. It's amazing how all these different buildings that were built to worship God hold a part of Him and I love to feel it seep in my heart and I am grateful for those who built them and preserve them. 









I couldn't help but hum "Nearer my God to thee" in this empty space with spectacular acoustics, I think God appreciated it, I sure did appreciate the peace it filled me with.








Hind Leys Community college: where I attended school from 14-18 years of age. 
Can't say I loved school... I felt daily my standards were challenged and often like a fish out of water waiting for the time I could leave and grasp my dream studying abroad. I am however grateful for the performing arts program, the friendships I made and opportunities I had to escape my awkwardness and become someone else on stage. 




68 Cumbrian Way, Shepshed. Where lived from 3-14 years of age. 




So many night games were played one that field with my neighborhood friends; leaky 1,2,3 and trackers.





St Botolph's Church.
 I attended St. Botolph's primary school and we frequently walked up the road to go and sing at the church at Easter, May day, D day, Harvest festival, Remembrance day and Christmas.  Although this church was very different from the one I went to for Sunday worship it holds a dear spot in my heart, I love diversity and the many ways we worship God. 






The building I spent SO MANY hours in every week dancing and dancing.




Market day in loughborough






My grandma and I. 

It was such a special time being with my Grandma. She suffers with alzheimer's. She asked the same questions 100 times but I wanted to answer each with the same enthusiasm because I wanted her to feel my love. I shared memories of her home on James avenue, the dinners, her home-made brown bread, the green house, walking to the park, family gatherings, walking to church and praying together. 

She told me that having young children and grand-children in her home was the best time of her life and admonished me to love where I am at. 

I left with a full heart.




At dinner with our hats on!







Her old house that holds so many memories





Bradgate Park.
Sunday morning walk in Bradgate park a place that we frequented as a family to meet up with friends and family for picnics and games of rounders.









My Grannie and Grancha's home. 
Having a sleepover at this house holds fantastic memories for me. It's a small house filled with more love you can imagine. I was beyond thrilled to return and find not much had changed. It was as though my memories were not from so long ago.  I hope as I raise my children I will strive to create a home that stirs feelings of belonging and love as this home does for me.




Grancha and I



During the church meeting on Sunday I bore my testimony and became very emotional. As I looked out I realized a large portion of the congregation was related to me and have played a role in my continuous conversion to God. They have been examples to me for years and here they still are serving God and trying to be more like Him. I was overcome as I realized that I come from a group of individuals that do hard things, are resistant and filled with love. 

After an incredible church service that made my heart soar with gratitude we had a family dinner. 

I love my family!



















Our visit to Chatsworth house! 
It was spectacular and mind blowing as you would expect.























After major traffic we made it to Auntie Sarah's house.

I loved every second of being with these glorious people. They are good, beautiful, kind, loving people. The type of people I want to be.
 My family really is amazing!

My two cousins Lydia and Ella were flower girls at our wedding and now they are 17 and 16; crazy!







Last day spent with Grannie and Grancha









I left England with a gigantic grateful heart for the glorious experiences, people I got to be with and sharing it with Ben. I couldn't have asked for the trip to have gone any better. I am enormously thankful to my incredible mother-in law who held down the fort at home with our boys; who had a grand time with her!!!!


Life really is good.

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