Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Scotland: Driving Around Skye

I feel that I am not making much headway on reporting about our Scotland trip. It's time for another installment.....

Today I will take you on our drive around about half of the island, beginning at Digg and heading north around the northern tip of the island.

 Can you even believe the amazing clouds that graced the sky?! It certainly is the weather that makes or breaks one's stay on this island.

 Approaching the northern point, we came upon a tartan camper van! Camper vans were everywhere, but this was certainly one of the coolest!

Across the sea from this area, away in the far distance, would be the Outer Hebrides.

 We stopped at the Museum of Island Life which will have to be a post of its own. Here we learned more about what life was like as a crofter. I don't think I would have lasted very long!

Turning south towards Uig the rain came on! What a change!

The heather was just beautiful wherever we went!
Uig was a much bigger town than most of the villages we passed through.

A friend of ours here in Indianapolis has a brother who has been a minister for many years on the Isle of Skye. We decided we would try to find his church as we drove around. We found lots of churches, but by this point, nothing with his name on it!

The weather continued to be varied as we headed south west towards Dunvegan Castle.

Upon arrival at the castle it was necessary to have some lunch first in the cafe. Soup and rolls were the name of the game. 

As we made our way toward the Castle itself look what we found to the side of the path!!!! Aren't these the most gorgeous toadstools ever?! I've never seen anything like this in person before. I think the other tourists thought we were crazy.

Then we got to the main attraction: Dunvegan Castle, home of the Macleod family.

Like a lot of places, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside. :( But, the insides of many of these family homes are similar.

This view to the north was just breathtaking. The colors and the sky and the water. I just can't get enough of it!
After the castle we headed out to the gardens. 

They were beautifully developed around a water theme.

And there was a more formal flower garden as well.

Once again, admire the sky and the sunshine that made the scenery come to life!

We all were fascinated by the monkey puzzle tree:

Here is a lovely yellow flower:

We continued to see this gigantic "rhubarb-looking" plant all over the UK as we travelled. Can you see how large the leaves are? I want to plant it just to watch peoples' mouths open. Michael has completely vetoed it.

Here is the waterfall at the back of the water garden -- just lovely!

I had no idea that butterfly bush was such an integral part of British gardens. I can't figure out why I didn't realize this before. However, they seem to be very prevalent.

And this beautiful perennial was in bloom everywhere! I've forgotten where I've written down the name and I need to find it again. I'm really, really hoping it could grow in Indiana. It would make such a lovely addition to the fall garden.

Another beautiful butterfly bush:

We were planning to hike out to one of the white sand beaches north of the castle but the midges were horrendous and we could find NO place in the town to buy midge repellent so we had to give up on that idea and head south.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the Black Cuillin mountains arose on the horizon.

There were absolutely stunning!

We didn't get all the way to the mountains but came upon a bookstore we wanted to stop at: Mor Books

It couldn't have been a more fun place to be! There were games for the kids, friendly owners, lots and lots of books, and even some yarn! You can see my large pile of books sitting there on the table:

One of the owners is a talented designer/seamstress and she had several of her pieces on sale as well as baskets of yarn she had dyed herself. 

 Here's another view of some of the bookshelves.

It was such a pleasant atmosphere! I'm not sure why we didn't settle in for tea and cake as well but we couldn't do that everywhere! We did spend a good hour or more browsing.

A lovely view from the bookshop window!

 And wouldn't you know it, our friend's church was just right there next door to the bookshop! That was a fun discovery!

 (We later found out that he had retired a few months or so previously and it was fortunate for us that his name was still listed on the church sign!)

Then we took a shortcut over the top of the island back towards Portree and home.

 We came upon someone's private peat cutting place -- see the wheelbarrow?

 And we finally arrived in Portree and walked down to the harbor to find Fish and Chips for dinner.

Oh yes! We found the right shop.

It was SO good!!!! We even ran into fellow Americans who, it turned out, Michael's mom had done some work for at one time! Amazing how small the world is, and how often one just "happens" to run into people like this....

 On the way back to our cottage we passed the famous Old Man of Storr stone.

And then an incredible rainbow lit the sky to our right as we drove along.

It is hard to get a camera to capture something that is just awesome in real life. At this point you can only see the two ends of the rainbow so you have to imagine the incredible beauty this was when you were standing there for real.

And then we were back at our cozy cottage and ready to get some rest for the next day's adventures.

 And now I need to get some rest for the present day adventures!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mondays are for Grace

"The more I think it over the more I feel that
there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."

-- Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Words and Wool

I finished my "Just One of Those Things" shawl and got it blocked last week. I was very happy with how it turned out and that it was easy enough to knit and I did not tire of it. The wool has baby alpaca in it so it is soft enough to wear near my face.

Here is what it looks like all spread out:

While still on spring break I laid out my granny flower square blanket and am working on joining it together. I'm using something akin to the method advocated by Attic24 and I love how it is looking.

Here is my work basket:

Have you seen these adorable Easter bunnies that go on top of Cadbury Creme Eggs? Oh my, too cute!!!! The author of the pattern also has a crochet version.....

As for books,

The Hole in Our Holiness (Paperback Edition): Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness by Kevin DeYoung is an excellent, easily read book on sanctification. In our day, the doctrines of justification and sanctification are too easily muddied and blended. This book helps to get the facts about our "union" and "communion" with Christ straight and it challenges us that we are called to this pursuit of communion with Christ (holiness) -- to live out in our lives the life that has already been made alive for us in Christ. And, the good thing is, this book is not about do's and don'ts' particularly, although it is challenging. At its heart, this book is about "not so much seeking after a thing" as it is about "seeking after a person" -- that is, Christ. DeYoung states that holiness/communion with Christ comes by very ordinary measures: prayer, reading of Scripture, fellowship with God's people, and partaking in the Lord's Supper. His challenge is to avail ourselves diligently of these means and thereby grow in our experience of the precious communion/fellowship there is with our personal savior, Jesus Christ.

Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior (True Woman) by Kimberly Wagner is an excellent book for women on marriage. Wagner's thesis is that women have a fierceness in our soul that can be used for great good in our marriages, or can become a great enemy of that very relationship. I found the book very convicting -- how easy it is to slide into behavior that seems so normal but is so wrong and undermining of the bond between a husband and wife. I also appreciated the fact that Wagner recognizes that some women are in very, very difficult relationships and she provides some counsel, ideas, and ways that these women can seek help, urging women not to stay in dangerous situations.

Stillmeadow Calendar: A Country Woman's Journal by Gladys Taber. LOVED this book that describes life in rural Connecticut over the 12 months of the year. Taber is now a beloved author of mine. I think I'm going to start collecting her books as I find them.

Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry fromWorld Literature by Ryken, Ryken, and Wilson. I picked this up for Michael's birthday, mostly because I wanted to read this book! :) The book examines various classical works of literature and the part a minister plays in that story, extracting out application for the modern day minister. The book looks at length at works such as The Canterbury Tales, The Scarlet Letter, The Warden, Murder in the Cathedral, Witch Wood, and many others. It also has brief descriptions of about thirty more books and stories. Of course now I want to read all the books mentioned in the book as well as the book itself!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce is a novel a friend just sent me in the mail and now I can't put it down. Harold receives a letter from an old colleague who is dying of cancer. He goes out the door to post a letter to her and just keeps walking, suddenly getting the idea that if he walks to the other end of England where she is in hospice she might hang on until he gets there. It's a clever idea and well-written so that I keep reaching for this book whenever possible. Haven't found out the end of the story yet....

For more ideas on knitting and reading, visit Ginny's Yarn a Long.

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