Monday, September 7, 2015

A long overdue gratitude post...

Without so much as a "fare thee well",  I disappeared from blogland three weeks ago.  In those three weeks we packed up the majority of our household goods into UHaul boxes and sent them off to a storage warehouse.  The items that were either too fragile for me to want to store in that way or too big to fit in the UHaul boxes are scattered among gracious family and friends.  Speaking of family and friends, we couldn't have made it through this transition without their help!  Truthfully, we're still in transition.  Our new to us house still hasn't "closed".  Tuesday it is supposed to finally happen.  (God, please make it so!)

On the day that we packed up the last of the odds and ends from our home, ran a vacuum over the floors for the last time, and said a teary good-bye with a closing prayer of gratitude for all God's faithfulness in the sixteen years that we lived there, we also packed our suitcases to leave for London the next day. (Packing lesson learned: When you're going to be taking the train, riding city buses, and walking all over London, Paris and Edinburgh, leave the cute clothes and shoes at home and just pack your comfortable ones, because, in reality, that's all you'll wear.)

In spite of the fact that, due to all sorts of odd delays, I had a fear that the buyer's deal on our Portland home was going to fall apart and that we were going to have to come home and move back in, three days into our trip we got the happy news that the sale of our home had closed.  Meanwhile, delays on the closing of our new home meant that we returned from London "homeless".  So, here I am, typing away in our temporary resting place at a hotel, way too early on Sunday morning because I'm all messed up from the eight hour time difference from London to here.

Our trip?  Amazing!  So, so, so, wonderful.  Our middle daughter, oldest granddaughter, youngest grandson and another young gal from our church met us in London after being in Ghana since the beginning of August.  We rented a little apartment right on the Thames river through VRBO.  It was perfect!  We were just one short bus ride away from most everything you'd want to make sure to see in London, as well as close to the church that my husband was scheduled to speak at while we were there.  I must admit, left to ourselves, my husband and I would never have been as bold and determined to master the public transportation system as well as the trains and to see as much as we did in a week and a half without our daughter's help.  She is, and has always been, an unintimidated traveler.  So, thanks to her, we experienced much of London, and had wonderful day excursions to Paris, France and Edinburgh, Scotland.

That's the Reader's Digest condensed version of our last three weeks.  Through it all, I've still been keeping my gratitude journal. So, bear with me as I record here three weeks of my thanksgiving.

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little green journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)

-facetiming with my youngest grandson from Ghana
-help from my nephew, son-in-law and friend
-singing along to worship music while packing up the house

-some moments to write
-a good long talk on the phone with a friend
-more progress on packing with the help of my friend
-talking to my husband, who's on a layover in Amsterdam on his way home from Ghana

-pink sunrise
-fresh tomatoes from the back yard eaten with salt
-my husband is home from Ghana!

-my sister's birthday
-walking to Dairy Queen with our oldest daughter and two youngest granddaughters

-lunch at Chang's with our son-in-law and grandson
-love and forgiveness
-the hub's help with packing

-a long walk after a long day of packing
-letting go of more stuff

-our church family
-pizza party after church
-almost done packing up the house

-coffee and God's Word to keep me sane
-a breakfast of bacon, toast and scrambled eggs made by the hubs
-most of our belongings packed into Uhaul boxes

-progress on both house closings
-cleaning our current home for the last time
-a relaxing dinner out after too much grab and go food

-help from a friend from church who is storing our outdoor furniture for us
-more help packing up from my friend
-all of our stuff now in storage

-God's provision day by day, need by need
-help with a repair 
-my friend's texts and prayers
-God's help to find an available dentist to take care of a broken tooth

-God's grace, mercy and forgiveness when I'm not handling the chaos of this move so well
-a better afternoon than morning

-a run to destress while listening to podcasts that were just what I needed
-packing of my suitcases all done for our London trip
-dinner with friends from church-great food, great fellowship, just what we needed

-a great Sunday
-saying our last goodbye to our Portland house
-my nephew and niece-in-law letting us stay at their house
-going to frozen yogurt with our oldest daughter, son-in-law and two youngest granddaughters before leaving for our trip
-our oldest grandson spending the night with us at our nephew's

-at the airport, ready to leave for London!
-the most amazing encounter with a dear Jewish lady who sat next to me on the plane
(truly an amazing God moment that deserves a whole blog post of its own)

-a safe trip
-Jacki and Freddie from New Testament Assembly there at Heathrow to pick us up
-seeing lots of London just on the car ride to our lodging
-a wonderful little vacation rental apartment right on the Thames river!
-a reasonably priced little grocery store right near the apartment
-a great nap after a long trip
-an evening walk by the Thames when we woke up
-making eggs, fried potatoes and crumpets for our dinner 
-catching up on my Bible reading
-good news from home re. our house 

-a good night's sleep
-a day late due to a plane mechanical problem, but our daughter, oldest granddaughter, youngest grandson and a young gal from our church
 arrived safely in London from Ghana
-taking a nap with my grandson, (I'm still jet lagged!)
-our daughter arranging our day trip to Paris
-figuring out the buses here in London
-seeing Buckingham Palace!

-a yummy dinner of fish and chips
-our house sale is closing tomorrow!

-the sale of our house is closed, funded and recorded!
-seeing more of the sights of London-the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace, Big Ben, touring Westminster Abbey, 
(where we saw the graves of people like Handel and David Livingstone)

-the opening service of the conference at New Testament Assembly

-our real estate agent, nephew and son-in-law taking care of some things re. our new house
-going to Selfridges
-my husband preaching an amazing message at the conference-
a wonderful service, (and great Lebanese food at a restaurant and fellowship afterwards!)

-riding the Eurostar to Paris!

-baguette with butter and ham bought on the street
-going to the top of the Eiffel Tower!

-a boat tour down the Seine
-croque madame at a sidewalk cafe, followed by a fabulous dessert of crepe royale

-a great message at NTA this morning
-an afternoon nap
-good news from home
-quiet time in God's Word

-a new roof on our new house
-lunch with Bishop Frank who is in London, from Ghana, for the conference
-the way our youngest grandson loves our wonderful Ghanaian brother like another papa
-going to the British Museum, (it's free admission!)

-a fun trip to Harrod's
-a wonderful time of Jamaican food and sweet fellowship at the home of a dear family
 from New Testament Assembly
-our nephew's help back in the U.S. with things re. the house

-the train ride through the countryside from London to Edinburgh, Scotland

-my Scottish husband teary-eyed to stand in the land of his grandmother
-soup, sandwich, scones and tea at an old Scottish pub
-touring Edinburgh castle and a bus tour around Edinburgh 

-dreams of coming back to Scotland one day

-Bishop Frank taking the underground just to see us off to the airport
-icy glaciers and fjords seen from the plane
-a safe trip home
-another night at our nephew's since our house still hasn't closed

-our anniversary!
-God's provision for a nice hotel room
-reassurance from our lender that our house will close soon
-praying and trusting when things have not gone smoothly

-catching up on reading in the books of Isaiah and Acts 
as I continue to read and journal through the Bible this year
-our spiritual dad/mentor 
-God's answers to prayer that sometimes come in unexpected ways

-waking up way too early due to still adjusting to the time difference between London and here, 
but it giving me precious time in the Word
-a beautiful sunrise
-our supportive church elders
-soup and salad lunch on this rainy Sunday afternoon

gratefully yours, 


  1. I wondered why you posted so early in the morning! What an adventure! I've been keeping up via instagram, but have been waiting on this post! Your granddaughter is grown! I can't believe how tall she is! I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip and that your house is officially sold. Now praying that you close on the new house tomorrow!

    1. It was late in the night here! I'm still all discombobulated with the time change. I'll be sleepy at 7pm and wide awake at 3:30 am. Our house didn't close on Tuesday, (insert teary eyes), but it is closing tomorrow morning, Thursday. At last!!!

  2. Welcome home Elizabeth,
    Wow, what a wonderful trip and great pictures. Great list as always,.....
    Praying that your home closes when it is suppose to...........
    What a tumultuous time even tho it was full of blessings but I am sure you
    will be happy to see come to and end, so you can get settled back in and
    feel at home (as much as you can down here! lol)
    We have been to Paris too but it was 42 years ago, but isn't just the coolest thing to see things you only saw in History books before........loved it.
    London looks awesome and so great you had your smart daughter as a tour

    Blessings hon,

    1. Nellie, even though I saw London and Paris and Edinburgh with my own eyes and have the photos to prove it, it still seems surreal that these ancient places are real and that I saw them and touched them. And yes, my daughter was an awesome tour guide!

  3. what joy to live vicariously through you in your travels. it's a dream of mine to spend ample time in england, especially the countryside (and switzerland). were you able to visit the british history museum? i understand an original copy of the book of John is there on display........praying the closing of your new home will for sure happen tomorrow, and that the move in process/transition will be smooth, and that unpacking will seem like Christmas. hugs.

    1. Sherry, we saw the English countryside from the train, but spent our days exploring London. I would definitely love to explore the countryside of England and Scotland, especially the coastal areas, and I'd love to spend more time in France as well.

  4. Glad you're home! thrilled for you--and I hope you're all rested and refreshed! xo

    1. The trip was jammed full of wonderful sightseeing, so it definitely wasn't a resting vacation. I'm still trying to catch up on the rest part, but it was wonderfully worth it. A dream come true trip!

  5. Oh, my! What an amazing journey.....I'm SO happy for all the sights and experiences you've squeezed into these weeks. Looking forward to knowing you are settled in to a new house. (Somehow I missed how this all transpired - the decision to move, etc.) ♥

    1. Rebecca, we've been living quite some distance from our church for the past several years. When the traffic is bad, a twenty minute commute can take two hours! For that, a a few other reasons, we decided the time was right to move to a single level home closer to the church. I am so looking forward to being settled!

  6. Hi Elizabeth! What an amazing trip!!! I so enjoyed the photos, a lifetime of gratitude in those experiences and people.
    Congrats on the sale of your home, and I pray that you will find your new nest soon!

    1. We close on our new home in the morning! YaY! It's been quite a roller coaster of a month.

  7. Thankful you had a great time and are home safe and sound!

  8. Welcome home, dear friend! I'm so glad to see and hear about God's blessings in the middle of all the chaos of your weeks. And thrilled to see how God made your dreams for this trip come true. I can't wait to get together and hear more - and see your new home! I'm praying that everything will go without a glitch tomorrow and you will soon be moved in.

    1. Well, it didn't close Tuesday, and it didn't close today, but tomorrow, Thursday, morning we finally have an appointment to close! At last!

  9. Simply amazing! How you can stuff all of that into three weeks...not to mention storing your household items!

    1. Evelyn, the chaos continues as our house didn't close on Tuesday, but finally will on tomorrow morning! I'm so ready to be in our own home again!

  10. Oh Elizabeth, I've missed you! So good to be able to catch up with you. I understand the hectic pace and unsettling feelings of moving. There are so many snags to deal with, and the emotions of leaving a home are tough. I'm glad that things seem to be (finally!) working out.

    I loved your pictures! Especially of Scotland. Both my grandmothers were born there, and it's on my list to visit there someday. I'm thinking that God probably knew that you needed this adventure, right at this very time.

    Hope this post signals your regular return to Blog Land. I am always blessed by your sharing.


    1. The trip was a wonderful joy in the midst of the most chaotic month we've had in a long time. Our new home closes tomorrow, finally! I can't wait to be settled again!

  11. Missed you. :) Love that you could step out for awhile. Love it more that you have slipped back in. Your pictures are stunning, but I imagine you wish that your eyes could take pictures of all that you were seeing. What an adventure! Praying still for all you have going on.

  12. Missed you. :) Love that you could step out for awhile. Love it more that you have slipped back in. Your pictures are stunning, but I imagine you wish that your eyes could take pictures of all that you were seeing. What an adventure! Praying still for all you have going on.

    1. It was such a wonderful trip! I hope to go through the photos and savor it all a bit after the chaos of the house closing and moving has calmed down a bit.

  13. Wow! Been praying for you & will continue. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures!! God Bless you!!

    1. I appreciate your prayers so much. We sign closing documents in the morning, 20 days after we were told it would close. It's been one thing after the other, none of which on our end that could have been helped. I know it will soon be over, thank God!

  14. What a summer you've had. Enjoyed catching up on what you've been doing.

    1. Ida, it's been the best of times and the worst of times. I don't do chaos very well, and this move has been pretty chaotic!

  15. Wow!!! Welcome back!!! I need a nap after all that!!! So happy for you!!! Sounds all so wonderful and can't wait to hear and see more about it all.
    Can't wait to see the new home also!!
    God bless,

    1. Addie, I will show the before and the after, since our new to us home needs some updating. It will be fun.

  16. Beautiful Pictures and gratitudes. I cannot believe you have survived a summer like this. You certainly are living that word ......"endurance".
    I am anxious to see your new home and all the wonderful decorating you will do to make it your own.


    1. Debbi, that word has definitely come to mind a lot the past few weeks. We are finally signing our closing documents in the morning, twenty days after the date we were first told we would close!


The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.