Archives for the month of: September, 2013

These past few weeks at the House of Prayer (“HOP”) I have been hard at work on a project that was handed over to me.

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Thirty meters of fabric were cut into nine “sails”. I was guided and helped by the gal who designed the project, but I did most of the construction. It is so sweet to put my sewing machine to work so soon! I was happy to have an assignment I enjoyed that was still important preparation for the official reopening of the HOP. My grandparents outfitted me with a converter – perfect for my vintage Kenmore!

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We hung sails in the ceiling over two days. I loved climbing the scaffolding and being wheeled around! We finished this morning!

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More work to be done this afternoon – painting, cleaning, etc. – but I am so thankful to have this big piece complete!

I was up as the sun was rising and out and about while the dew was fresh! Delightful little solitary ramble!

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No photos have been edited, just watermarked. Autumn is upon us, though summer won’t give up easily! Hope your day was as lovely as mine!

It’s been just over a week since arriving, and I am beginning to get my feelings sorted. I think, to be honest, the main reason this has been slower in coming is because it takes me getting alone and quiet to experience those feelings. I miss my travel companion and treasured friend who often helps me articulate what I feel when I describe how I think. At this juncture, she’d say I feel nervous, vulnerable, overwhelmed, but also happy, joyful, and expectant. And clotted cream on a scone always helps!

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When I arrived, I had no set schedule and no real expectations placed upon me. Now that all the interns have arrived, things can take shape. We must be shuttled from Newcastle, we must try to complete pastors’ to-do list this week. With all pitching in, it can easily get done. But it’s something to get done.

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(More on my job later.)

And it’s still a lot of community-based activity. Thankfully there are a good number of introverts among us, and as a few just got off the plane, we are brainstorming plans to secure some downtime for ourselves within the context of rapidly growing relationships and roles.

I do not feel disconnected from who I am. I do miss having my time as my own. But this is just temporary. As the things officially kick off in October, there is not long to wait.

But I am thankful for the stretching. I am thankful for the safe, wonderful people surrounding me. I am thankful for technology which connects me to home. And I am thankful for the miracle, joy, and honor that I am in this place at this time!

Yesterday I moved from my first host home to my second. But this second is a familiar sight – my English mum’s home in Newcastle. When we came over for a few weeks this April, a friend and I stayed with her. Archie, the best Westie I’ve ever met, was a cheerful sight, as were the reminders of our initial stay: a celebratory collage of soft boiled eggs, a stack of letters I wrote over the summer, and a delightful English breakfast complete with tea.

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Two other American girls, freshly arrived that morning, were already snoozing when I arrived. It felt like Christmas. Mum and I had a cuppa and a catch up before lunch. It was if the previous week was stretching my legs, and now I’ve found my feet.

I don’t expect we will stay here long as our flat is already overdue to be turned over to us. But I’m happy to stay as long as I can. The commute from Newcastle to the HOP in Sunderland is a bit more laborious, but it’s worth it. “Birds have nests” – and I’m in mine!

I took a walk up behind the house where I’m staying. Several hours of blissful sunshine, gorgeous views, journaling, and reading in the sunset fed my soul and spirit. Once again, no photos have been retouched.

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A-hiking we did go! We noshed on wild blackberries on our way up, lunched among the heather on the ridge, and ended the excursion with a properly delicious scone (my first since being here)!

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With the exception of the blackberries, none of the above photos have been edited. Truly, it was that beautiful!

I stitched in airports and among new friends, and at last, my Scrappy Trip to England quilt is complete!

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As you can see, I also brought along a few mementos from SOSL – my Fusion Blanket and my eye mask (which, no coincidence, matches the quilt.)

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I’ve been asked to teach a bit of quilting while here, but who knows when that will be, so this is it for now. Love how it turned out – so warm and snuggly, and perfectly sized for my bed here! No regrets in trimming whatsoever, and so thankful to have it complete!

I write from the bus on my way to Sunderland this morning!

Settling in this first few days has been quiet and homey. I’ve been getting to know my host family and community, enjoying the sun when it appears, and generally having little jet lag. Yesterday my host mama and I took the bus into Durham to do some errands and look into the Lindisfarne Gospels, on exhibition through the end of the month. We were surprised to find it booked solidly throughout the weekend!

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Not to be dismayed, we went on into the cathedral. It was austere, lofty, all those words one usually uses to describe cathedrals. Scarlet banners evoking the carpet pages of the Gospels, along with each book’s name, sparkled with sequins and embroidery among the columns of the nave. Silent worshippers sat reverently, contemplatively on wooden pews. Cathedral personnel – were they volunteers? Lay ministers? Nuns? – arranged flowers in various chapels and alcoves.

I chose to pay the £5 to climb 300+ stairs to the roof. It was worth it, despite the dizzying spiral and slippery stairs. There is something I love about being in high places! This was no different, and the view was – well, see for yourself.

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The rest of the day was practical: getting a local phone number, procuring fruit from a local purveyor, becoming more confident with the bus system. In the evening, after a meeting with the leadership of the House of Prayer, I joined the rest of the interns for about three hours of fiery prayer and worship.

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This morning I’m headed back to Sunderland to join two other interns for a hike. The weather looks to be a joy, and we will take advantage of the sunshine. Next week the last of the other interns arrive, so it has been wonderful to enjoy this peaceful, easy transition.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my new life thus far! I look forward to reporting many more adventures!

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A rainbow on the ride to Sunderland and a sunny back garden under a bright blue sky are sure signs that I’m in for a sweet adventure!

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Making faces with That Someone is always fun, even the day before hopping continents!