Rainy England Days

Our time here is almost over. In less than a week we will be heading home to sunny Texas. Eliza and I are snuggled up in our room staying dry. I’m going to miss rainy England days!

I haven’t taken many pictures this trip, it is kind of difficult with all the baby gear. This is something God is growing me in. I am learning to let go of always being in blog/decorating/have to take pictures of everything mode and to just enjoy my days with my family and friends. It is teaching me to rest and lay aside striving. I have taken a few pictures as I have walked around the city.
Here is where Joel lived while he was at the University of Wolverhampton.

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A friend and I took an afternoon to explore my favorite part of the city, Tettenhall.

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Here are some random shots from around the city.

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One day we took a train into Birmingham to watch some friends at an open mic night.

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We had dinner in an area called the Bullring. Right next to this modern shopping area there is an amazing old church that rises up in the middle of it all. It was a great place to take family photos!

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Another day we rented a car and drove to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare!

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Here is the home where old Bill was born.

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We ducked into a 1940′s tea room to get out of the rain. It was soo charming!

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Here is one last photo… Eliza in mommy’s new glasses.

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Hope you all are doing well. Take care!

We Are Here

We did it! We have never traveled internationally with a 4 month old so we had no idea what to expect but we did it! Eliza is a fantastic traveler. Wolverhampton, England has been our home for the past week and are seeing God move in awesome ways! We already hit up Jivan’s twice and have had countless cups of tea. In our short time here we have met many new friends and look forward to seeing these relationships go deeper. I haven’t had my camera with me but here are some pictures I snapped with my phone.

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Future Plans

The semester is winding down around here and we are gearing back up for the summer.  We will be heading back to Europe in a few weeks.  Last summer we spent four weeks in Greece

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 and this year we will be in England with Eliza in-tow!  We are going back to Wolverhampton, the city where Joel lived during his last two years of college.  Wolverhampton, England is a very dear place to us.  Our favorite restaurant, Jivan’s, an Indian Balti house, is in Wolverhampton.

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Our first dinner date at Jivan’s

Some of our closest friends are from Wolverhampton.  Wolverhampton is the city where we fell in love!  I just can’t wait to introduce Wolverhampton to Eliza.  Last time we were there, in 2011, I found a charming antique shop that I am dying to check out again.  But what I’m most excited about is the new people we will meet and the friendships that will develop during this trip.

After we get back from England our plan is to finish painting the outside!!!! I decided to paint the window sashes in Weathered Shingle by Sherwin Williams.

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Before

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After

 We are also planning a master bathroom remodel.  Last summer, I was still suffering from morning sickness and extreme nausea so Joel remodeled our master bedroom while I laid on the couch, eating crackers all day.

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 I am sooo excited about this remodel because the state of our bathroom right now is just well, disgustingly embarrassing.  Our plans include extending the ceiling from 9 feet to 11 feet, adding antique ceiling tin, reconfiguring the layout, reworking our closet to utilize the maximum amount of space, changing the door from a hinge hanging door to a pocket door, a new vanity made from an antique dresser with a vessel sink and new hardware, new flooring, new subway tile on the walls and new light fixtures.  Pretty much a gut job!  The only thing staying is our claw foot bath tub that needs to be re-finished.  I’m not sure how it is all going to work with Eliza around, but it should be an adventure!

Here are a few inspiring pictures.

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I also had to add a few pictures of my little nugget! She has grown so much this month.

E and Joel E and Mommy E owl hat Eliza 3 months

With love,
Lauren

Ahh Home and Future Plans

Big inhale now exhale….we are home.  I love home!  I am so grateful for our little Rescued Home.   After a month of living in Greece we are back home and trying to get over jet lag.  I have pretty much been in bed since Thursday!  My schedule is all off and I’m not quite sure what to do with my time.  It is weird transitioning back into a normal life with routine it kind of feels like I’m standing on the edge of a pool waiting to jump in. Ooo pool….. maybe I will go swimming today???  I think I’m avoiding responsibility!

Greece was definitely life changing.  I have never before experienced a culture or people like the Greeks.  In our month of living there we saw some beautiful places and made new life long friendships.  I will always remember the amazing things I saw God do during our time in Greece.  Here are the last few pictures I want to share with you.

The churches were beautiful! A lot of the old churches sit below the current ground level because the city over time has been built on top of existing structures.

This is the ruins of a roman market place where the apostle Paul preached!

This area of the city is called Aristoteles Square.  It was my favorite place to hang out.

After weeks in the city we decided we needed to get away for a couple of nights so we headed out on a 3 hour bus ride then a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride to the island of Thassos.

The island was beautiful! The mountains went right down into the sea.  This is the view from our patio.

The rock had sparkles in it so the sand sparkled in the sun.

     

Just because I was in Greece didn’t mean I was free from dumpster diving! Yep that’s right, I found some architectural blue prints next to a dumpster and you better believe I brought those puppies home with me!

Hey have you checked out my blog?

So we had a pretty big game changer around here, before we left for Greece we found out we are going to have our first baby in January!  I am so excited and can’t wait for motherhood.  I fought morning sickness the whole time we were gone.  I think I will one day look back on this time and ask myself, “what was I thinking?”  Now we are making decisions that will involve a little one.  As soon as we got back we went into our newly remodeled guest room and started coming up with plans to make it a nursery.  Oh it is soo much fun! I wrote a post a few months ago about ideas for a nursery you can read that here.  I think I will stick with those plans depending if it is a boy or girl.  We know we will have to slow down on the pace of our projects which kind of bums me out but I think we are going to try to remodel our bedroom before the baby arrives.  I have been poking around online and found a few inspirations for our bedroom.

I saw this picture in a Country Living magazine a few months ago and knew this is what I want my bedroom to look like.

We will rip off all the sheet rock and paint the ship lap underneath a creamy white.

I love the vintage touches in this picture.

I hope you enjoyed keeping up with our little adventure in Greece.  I’m looking forward to sharing the next chapter in our lives with all of you.

With love,
Lauren

Macedonia

Γειά σου (Yassou) or hello!  It has rained nearly everyday since we have been in Eastern Europe.  It is so refreshing!  A cold front swept across all of Europe the day we got in which has kept the temperatures down.  According to locals it is usually pretty hot here during this time of year.  I have seen so many amazingly decorated cafes that I want to show all of you.  I’m going to take a day to be a total tourist and go around the city snapping pictures of my favorite places.

On Monday Joel and I took a four-hour bus ride north into Skopje, Macedonia to meet up with a few of the people we are traveling with.  The ride was beautiful! Macedonia is an undiscovered treasure.  It is covered in green mountains with foothills full of vineyards, rivers and wild poppies growing everywhere.

The population in Macedonia is around 2 million and 50% of the population lives in Skopje.  Skopje is the birthplace of Mother Theresa. The people of Skopje were so friendly and welcoming.  The area where we stayed was the new part of town where the government is putting up monuments and building extravagant buildings to build up the tourist industry.  It was quite a site to see.

Dividing the city is a river and on the other side is considered old town where it is heavily populated by Albanians and Roma Gypsys.  Our friends staying there have made friends with many of the gypsy children who hang out in the city.

They were so precious!

Old town is filled with small winding streets lined with shops and cafes.

Then on Thursday we woke up at 4:30am, 9:30 pm on Wednesday, Texas time, to catch our bus back.  Since we have returned I really feel settled in and at home in Thessaloniki. Last night we found a mexican food restaurant called El Burrito where they surprisingly had amazing mexican food.  It was so comforting to eat tortilla chips! Hope everyone back home is doing well.  I miss all of you and love ya!

With love,
Lauren

Greetings From Greece

Greetings from Thessaloniki, Greece!!!!  Ahh we have finally settled in enough for me to be able to sit down and write.   I’m sitting at a Starbucks that overlooks the Aegean Sea, how blessed the people of Thessaloniki are to have the opportunity to live here.   I can’t believe I’m in a city where parts of the original church were birthed.   There are land marks where the apostle Paul preached!

We traveled for over 30 hours and have spent the past few days getting adjusted to our new life in Thessaloniki.  Thessaloniki a city of 1.5 million people, is very different from San Marcos, Texas.  The city buzzes 24/7.  We woke this morning to the sound of a parade outside of our apartment in downtown Thessaloniki.  We are adjusting quickly and learning the city and have already made new friends.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for us over the next month.

On the way over we had a 13 hour layover in Zurich, Switzerland where we were able to get out of the airport and explore the city.   Zurich was the quietest, most peaceful city I’ve ever been in.  It is very orderly and clean.  I didn’t see one piece of trash on the ground!  The people are reserved and well put together. Here are a few pictures I snapped.

There were cobblestone streets everywhere.

And of course I will always find antique shops no matter where I am in the world!

Greece is very different from Switzerland.  It is loud and colorful and messy.  It isn’t illegal to double park and there is graffiti art all over the city.  It isn’t unusual to see two men standing in the street arguing and throwing their arms in the air.  The people in Greece are very fashionable and spend a lot of time in small street side cafes with friends drinking coffee and smoking.  They have been so friendly and have welcomed us to their city.  I haven’t had my camera with me that much but here are a few pictures.

This is Kamara, the old city gate.  The new city is built up all around old ruins.

Stay tuned for more!
With love,
Lauren

What We’ve Been Up To

We have had a great past few days.  We spent dinner Friday night at one of our good friends’ house, out on their amazing deck.  This Spring has been so awesome here in Texas, the wildflowers are amazing and the nights have stayed cool which has allowed for many outdoor dinners.  A huge contrast to last year’s Spring that was dry, hot and brown.  Saturday we headed to Fredericksburg with my parents to enjoy the Hill Country Wine & Music Festival at the Wildseed Farm.

The wine makers seemed to have found a solution for the drought problem in Texas!

Our family is definitely not  wine connoisseurs but it was fun to act like one even if it was just for a day!  The thing I enjoyed the most was all the wildflowers.  The Wildseed Farm has rows and rows of flowers in bloom.  They reminded me of something you would see in Holland.  I snapped a few pictures to share with all of you.

Then on Monday we had the last dinner of the semester with the student group that meets in our house.  We decided to take dinner outside.  It was a magical night.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

With love,
Lauren

British Columbia and Washington

Hi all! I hope you had a fun Halloween, we didn’t celebrate by dressing up, which is something we really love to do, because we were in Seattle.  So in memory of Halloween’s passed here are some pictures I thought you would enjoy:)

Here we are as old people. Kinda scary, we look like our grandparents!

Nacho Libre and the nun, Encarnacion.  Joel was such a champ to follow through on this one!

Last year we were our good friends, Ted and Becky Ball.

 So fun! Can’t wait until next year.

After our trip to Vancouver we drove to Seattle for a few days of rest.  I just have to say Washington is soo beautiful and I am so grateful we were able to experience it.   Here are some pictures from our trip both Vancouver and Washington.  I kind of went crazy with my camera, so there are a lot of pictures.

The colors and landscape were incredible to see.

This is the view from Ayo and Luna’s apartment.  Amazing!

What a good looking crew.  Don’t you think?

Driving through the mountains was incredible.

It was so fun to see famous sites around Seattle like Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks.

I was so inspired by all of the color and texture.  I just couldn’t wait to get back home and start creating.  Ideas of how I can bring nature inside and add more texture to interiors have been racing through my head.  So here I go, it is a day of creating for me!  Take care.

With love,
Lauren

Bathroom update and Canada

Can I tell you how good God is to me??  So, I’m sitting in an amazing coffee shop in downtown Vancouver eating a pear and brie panini watching traffic and people buzz everywhere… working:)  Beauty is everywhere. Vancouver is surrounded by mountains so picture this…mountains set back in the distance, high-rise apartments, streets lined with small shops, pops of vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange and pink leaves glow against a gray, rainy background.  My senses are filled with color, motion and the smell of coffee.  It is raining and cold, and people are bundled in coats and hats, scurrying to one of the many of coffee shops around the city.  I keep on telling myself, my sister-in-law, Allie would love this place!!  Our friends who are getting married, Ayo and Luna, have an amazing 10th floor apartment that overlooks the mountains and city.  I will snap a picture and post it so you all can see.

So rewind back to Texas.  Before we left we got to a good stopping point on the bathroom.  So, when I get back I can hit the ground running on preparation for Market On Belvin, November 12th.

Wanna see the bathroom???

Are you sure???

Ok, here it is…

What do you think???  I’m pretty pleased with it.  Jess, did you notice the shaver brushes from our little shopping trip in Wolves?  I will try to post some pictures of Vancouver in the next few days.  I hope you all have a great weekend.

With love,
Lauren

A Beautiful Wedding

Hi to all! I went to the most beautiful wedding yesterday and I just couldn’t wait to share some of the photos. Joel’s cousin, Jenna, married Davey yesterday and it could not have been more perfect.  It took place at a residence in Southern California.  The venue, the people, and the wedding party were breathtaking.  But the most beautiful was the bride.  I spoke with Davey, the groom, at the rehearsal dinner and he told me about how he and Jenna really worked hard during their engagement to honor God and each other and yesterday it showed.  As she walked down the aisle he looked at her with such approval and she was presented to him, a spotless bride.  It made me think of what it will be like one day for the church to be presented to Christ.  Oh, it is going to be the most beautiful wedding day ever!!

Here are some snap shots of the big event.

With love,
Lauren