Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Volcanic Island

The people on Santorini believe there was a huge volcanic eruption in about the year 1600 BC.  From their research it looks like Santorini was a huge transactional port because of it’s location which is convenient for  Europe and Asia.  It is a site very much like Pompeii with tremendous amounts of volcanic ash piled high all over the island.  The differences with Pompeii is that Santorini is older, and Santorini doesn’t have any human remains.  They believe the island had been evacuated before the eruption happened.

Akrotini is the name of the port which they have excavated.  They have found about 3% of the city and put it under cover inside a building.  We saw what they think is the front section of the entrance to the city.  Some interesting findings are, even though the town was built before the time of Christ, they were quite advanced with most homes having bathtubs and the town having a sewage system.  The walls had paintings on them and they have taken the originals and put them in a museum in Athens.

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One day we went to an island that is considered Santorini even though they are not connected anymore.  The craters were huge.

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A few more facts about Santorini:  It only rains about 60 days a year.  We got sunshine all day every day.  Yeah!  It was so nice considering we came home to 50’s and 60’s with clouds.  They get so little rain they have to save their rain water.  The ground is very brown because it is mostly volcanic ash.  They have found a way to grow the tomatoes, capers, and grapes even in the ash.  All the trees have been imported.  They have eucalytus, pistachio, and fig trees now.  There is very little wood on the island.  Our tour guide said years ago they rarely had bread because they had no wood to build a fire to bake it.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the beaches.

The Food

Yum!  The food in Greece is amazing.  They are healthy eaters.  Lots of seafood and fresh vegetables.  We loved it.  I ate so many Greek salads because they were so delicious.  My favorite was at a restaurant called Avocado.  The reason I liked it so much is the tomatoes were so fresh.  The cheese was crumbled, and the croutons were crushed and sprinkled on top.  I ate at least 8 salads from different places and this was the best.

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We also ate grilled octopus several times.  Kent ventured with the fresh fish but I don’t have the patience.  I told him he looked like he was performing surgery trying to get the bones out of the meat!  Too much work!

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The Greeks grow lots of grapes and small tomatoes called Santorini tomatoes.  Tomato balls are an appetizer I tried and it came with a feta mousse.  They don’t sound appetizing but they were great.

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Lots of restaurants would come to the table and bring you something small to thank you for choosing their place to eat.  Sometimes they would bring you a small treat at the end of the meal to thank you.  Here are just a couple of examples.

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A few other foods- prosciutto wrapped melon with reduced balsamic.  They also call pecan pie what we would consider cake.  Also prosciutto wrapped goat cheese grilled.  Lastly, lamb souvlaki hanging on the skewer.

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Coke is writing names on their cans and bottles too.  Here is a  Greek name.  I don’t know what it says.

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Here are some Santorini tomatoes, a caper plant, and a delicious dessert with what we think look like blackberries.  Similar taste, but not quite the same as ours.

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Oh, one last thing.  We went to a family run farm/store where they make almost all of their products.  Here is how they make their sun-dried tomatoes.  They had honey, goat cheese, pestos, marmalades, and many other items for sell.  Lots of family run businesses in Greece where it’s many generations all working together.  I like that.

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Santorini, Greece

Kent and I have always wanted to go to the Greek Isles so for our 25th anniversary we planned a trip.  It was the first time in many years that we went away and didn’t have an agenda or something to do.  It was great.  We had the best time.  I could just put pictures on the blog because the beauty is amazing.  I hope my pictures do it justice.  We forgot our good camera so it is all iphone.  I did learn some things about the island that were interesting so I’ll add that information as well.  Today though will just be where we stayed and the landscape of the island.

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Our room was on the left in the picture and we had this adjoining patio looking out to the sea.  The room was a “cave” room which we were so glad.  It’s hard to pick out a hotel online when you’ve never been to that place.

Santorini is a volcanic island and one side is the beach side and the other side is the cliffs.  We wanted to stay on the cliff side which turned out to be a great choice because it is the sunset side.  We had a great view of the sunset every night.

The cliff side also has all the hotels and restaurants built into it.  I am going to just put some pictures on here because I can’t explain it very well.  I have never seen anything like it.  It was absolutely beautiful.

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More tomorrow….

 

Another Milestone

I thought we would celebrate our anniversary with numbers.

  • 25- years we have been married!
  • 21- age I was when I walked down the aisle
  • 5- number of sons God has blessed us with
  • 7- animals we’ve had (6 dogs and 1 bird)
  • 11-times we’ve moved
  • 4 states we’ve lived in (some more than once)
  • 3- countries we’ve lived in
  • 7.5-longest number of years we’ve lived anywhere
  • 2- careers Kent has had
  • 5- graduate degrees we’ve earned or are earning
  • 11-churches we’ve been members of
  • 100’s- pans of brownies baked and eaten
  • 5- 4 grandmothers and 1 grandfather passed
  • 5-pages of friends and family we pray for on a regular basis.  I want to pray for you!
  • 1000’s of laughs, cries, fights, and fun

Here are a few pictures.  I was going to go back a few years but I didn’t think the boys would appreciate it.  Here is Kent and me in Virginia, Michael, and Robert.

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Next, here are pictures of Sergey, Andrew, and Timothy.

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Lastly, our dogs Lilly and Bauer.

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We are headed home in October for Kent to finish his PhD there.  Looking forward to being near family and friends.

I know many people are surprised that Kent and I have made it this long because they knew us when we were first married.  NOT that we have answers or know more than others, but if I had to give any advice it would be:

1. Don’t give up.  God blesses obedience.  Everybody has issues.  The grass is not always greener!

2.  Ask Jesus to help you see your spouse like He does.  He can help you forgive and love when you can’t do it on your own.

 

British Open

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The British Open being played here was how we “persuaded” the Deer’s to come visit.  We live just a few miles from the course so when they knew we were moving to S.A. they always said they would come visit.  We had a great day and I don’t even follow golf.

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We headed over around 7 am since they were teeing off early.  They love and are involved with the Ernie Els foundation because he has a son with autism and does a lot for the cause.  They wanted to see him play and he just happened to be playing with Tom Watson who was playing his last Open because he is retiring.  

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We weren’t supposed to be taking pictures but we could see many people with their phones out.  Our friends we met through adoption, Joey and Cecilie, live in Texas still.  Joey is a golf pro and used to teach Jordan Speith.  Years ago during the adoption Cecilie had told me about this kid who was going to win everything when he got older.  I remembered the conversation during the Masters and texted Cecilie and asked her if Jordan was the guy she was talking about.  She said yes and that his entire family is so nice.  Joey was at the Masters the last day with them but they didn’t come here. :-(

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Speith had so many professional photographers following him.  I don’t know how he concentrates.  He also had a man carrying a camera on a segway following him continually.  I think Tiger had the next biggest crowd.  I was surprised by that.  And Tom Watson was very humble and classy.

It sounds like I know a few of these golfers, but I really just learned this week.  The weather turned cold and rainy and windy- surprise, surprise!  It takes so much skill to play in those conditions.

The Deer’s got to take a picture with Ernie.  They mentioned they were Josh’s parents and he came right over.  He said he even had his letter in his wallet with him. (Watch the video to get it).  They’re on their way back home now and I told Lisa it was like they came over on a mission trip to encourage us.  We love you guys.  “linda, linda, linda!”

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Oban, Isle of Mull, and Isle of Iona

There is so much to write but I don’t want to bore you with all the details of our trip.  But, here goes, the best I can condense the day.  We started off in Oban.  We missed the early ferry to the Isle of Mull so we walked around the town and saw a little of it before we got on the ferry.

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The ferry ride took about 45 minutes and once we got across we drove to the edge of the island so we could take another ferry to the Isle of Iona.  Love their cows and the long hair!

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The Isle of Iona is supposed to be the “Cradle of Christianity”.  We were thinking it was going to be great and we were so excited.  The manager at the hotel was assuring us how peaceful it felt once you arrived.  Let’s just say that was a little exageration.  We went to the Abby that is still there and learned about Columbo who was a warrior monk.  The island was beautiful but the theology was very much about social justice and there was nothing about Jesus which I believe is Christianity?  ;-/

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These rocks were interesting.  They were what the monks knealed on to pray.  They thought once there was a hole worn through the world would end.  You can see there was a lot of praying happening here.

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So, we headed back on the ferries to Oban.  The weather while we were gone was amazing.  It was the best we’ve had so far.  I think we got to the 70’s and had sunshine.  Lisa and Andy must have brought it from Texas!

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Then we finished the day off with another amazing dinner.  So much fun.  The days are going fast.  They always do when you have such good friends around!

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Oban and the West Coast

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We left Monday for a 2 day excursion to the west coast of Scotland.  None of us had been to that area so it was all a surprise for us.  We stopped at Sterling Castle on the way and then headed over to Oban.  We needed a coffee break and pulled over for a quick stop at this nondescript place on the side of the road.  We ended up staying there for Kent’s birthday dinner.  It was delicious and such a surprise.

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They had fresh lobster from the Isle of Skye which was just north of where we were going.  From there we headed to the hotel and enjoyed the scenery on the way.  It was mountainous and reminded us a little of home.  Their mountains don’t have trees on them like ours do.  It was a lovely drive though.

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We met this man and his Ferrari at the gas station and had to get a picture since Kent is such a car guy.

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We arrived at the hotel late but we still enjoyed the day just being together, driving to our destination, and looking at all the pretty sights.  The next post I’ll share where we went near Oban.

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More friends are here!

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Sunday our friends, Lisa and Andy arrived here from Texas to visit us and go to the British Open.  We were so glad they would come over to do that.  It is a hard trip and the jet lag is hard to deal with.  Some people cope better than others.

Lisa didn’t sleep on the plane because she was doing school work.  She is back in school getting a masters degree and a certification so she can eventually get paid for helping others since she’s done it for free for so many years.  Lisa and Andy have 2 sons and their oldest son, Josh, is autistic and very high functioning.  They told them when he was young not to expect much but with their determination he is beyond any place they could have imagined.  If you are interested, please go to youtube.com and search Joshua Deer and PGA or golf and autism.  Ernie Els, the professional golfer, has an autisic son and is raising awareness in this area.  He met Josh (who is a scratch golfer) and the PGA did a piece on him and some other autistic kids and played it before a golf match on CBS a few weeks ago.  You will be so encouraged and amazed at what God can do.  Josh is Robert’s age and his gift is encouragement.  He used to write out an encouragement letter to all the players on the football team (and other teams as well) and the coaches for EVERY game.  He is now the junior chaplain for the Texas Brahmas.

I can’t leave out Jonah, their other son.  He is a hunter and a man’s man like his dad.  He has gone through a lot in the last couple of years but he has come through it so well.  I know his parents are so proud of him and the accomplishments he has made.

Anyway, they are here for a week so I will just post some of the pictures we took on the first day headed for a 3 day trip to the other coast of Scotland.  We stopped at Sterling Castle and I have already showed pictures of that castle las fall so i will just put a few on today.  I have some great pictures to share coming up.  The west coast of Scotland is gorgeous.

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Happy 50th Birthday!

What do you do for a man that has everything?  It’s hard to come up with a gift for a man that has so many toys already.  So, I thought I would give Kent a token of my love and respect by writing a birthday wish on my blog.  I wish I could write my thoughts eloquently. Writing is a true gift and unfortunately one I don’t possess .  I think all of these great things but yet they just don’t come out the elegant way they sound in my head.  So, here goes…

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Kent is my best friend.  Many people have only seen the serious, direct, and thoughtful Kent.  He doesn’t know how to have “small talk” so when you have a conversation with Kent it’s not typically about the weather.  All kidding aside,  he obviously can have light conversations but God created him to enjoy deep conversation or vigorous debate.  He is a curious man and wants to learn about various topics and different point of views.  He is diligent and perseveres when things are hard.  Discouragement motivates him.  When given an array of choices, he usually picks the most difficult.

The other side of Kent is the light-hearted and funny man.  In fact, he likes to push buttons, joke, and tease.  If he teases you, he likes you.  We have had times in the last year that we were driving down the road and laughing so hard that we had to pull over so we could see the road ahead of us.  That doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is joy.  He is not the typical proper straight laced Christian.  In fact, he runs from that stereotype.  He knows that behavior modification doesn’t make you a Christian- loving Jesus does.   And He does love The Lord.  I am so thankful for a man that has been a Christian for years but still reads scripture and comes to tears.  He knows what he was before and is so grateful for God’s continual work in him.

I could go on and on like I know you could about someone that is close to you.  I just want to tell my husband “happy birthday” and let him know he has my total love and respect.  We have been through many ups and downs since our first meeting in 1987, but being able to forgive and move on and become closer is the best gift we could give each other.

He has so many favorite verses from the Bible but Revelation 5 moves him.  I won’t write the whole thing but just a part of it.

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

Hallelujah!  Happy birthday!  I love you.

Good bye lunch

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This weekend the last of my yoga/bible study friends are leaving St. Andrews.  I don’t know when or if I’ll see them again.  I hope so.  We decided we better have one good bye lunch before we go our own ways.  I am going to miss my friends.

Please pray with me for the following ladies:

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Margaret is going back to Indiana.  She is going to be so busy unpacking their house and getting their boys ready to start school. She also has to buy a new car and go to Michigan to deal with her grandfather’s will.   One of her sons is autistic so she will be looking for resources for him.  It’s going to be crazy for her the next few weeks.

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Agnie is going back home to finish writing her masters thesis.  She has done all of her research and worked very hard to find people to be tested.  She literally was walking around St. Andrews, the gym, and giving samples at the cheese shop so she could find anyone to help her fill her quota.

She really wants to go to the US and she just won a mentoring trip to Harvard and several other US schools.  The competition was put on in Poland by alumni from these schools and she was chosen the winner!  She wasn’t even going to enter because she didn’t think she had a chance.  So happy for her!

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And Vera… she is taking a short break to go back home and visit family and work at a camp before she moves to Glasgow to finish her second half of medical school.  She has had the craziest month so I am praying that God would continue to work in her life.  He has used many things this month to bring healing and redemption and joy to her life.  It’s been encouraging in my faith to see the excitement in her face of how He is working.  It’s amazing when we feel like we’ve been in a desert how God just doing a few things in your life gives you complete rejuvenation.

I am so thankful for these ladies in my life.  I can’t wait to see what God does as they begin the next part of their journey.  I’ll miss them!