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Monday, June 26, 2006

And now some Magic!

So we have a magical horse that lives in our neighborhood...and magical sheep that live just outside our'm not kidding. Let me tell you a story.

One day James and I were leaving our house to run some errands, what those errands were I forget at the moment, but that's not important. Anyways, upon leaving our neighborhood we saw this scraggly looking horse in a small field behind some houses that are connected to our neighborhood. It was a brown horse and really did look kinda sickly. So we noticed it and went on our merry way. When we finished our errands we pulled back into our neighborhood and for fun I looked to see if the horse was still there. Now before I go on, this horse just showed up one day presumably out of nowhere. We'd been living in our home for a couple of months before we saw it. Okay so I looked for the horse and it's gone! Nowhere in sight and I looked, there were trees, there was a ditch, there was a barn and the horse was nowhere! Gone, disappeared into thin air, quite the feat for a horse! Why does that make him magical you ask? Well simply 'cause we never saw him again until a few days ago. Yeah, in the same field almost in the same spot, yet he looked a lot healthier which was good. When we saw him (I say him, it could be a she but for now it's a him) we were leaving our neighborhood to run more errands. And again upon returning home he was gone or so I thought, turns out he was just hiding in the shade of some near by trees, unlike last time. But he is magical because we left again later that day and he was gone! Then a couple of days after that it happened again, we saw him as we left, came home and he was gone, just like that! Definitely magical. :-)

Alright so the sheep. This sighting happened sometime between the first and second sighting of the magical horse. Again James and I were out and about running errands (we do that a lot on weekends) and we were on our way home. To get to our home we went through a neighboring town, Bann. It's about a mile or so away from Queidersbach (our town). And along this mile that you drive between the towns are a lot of green hills, it kinda looks like farm land but not really. Anyways, we've driven this road many time before and I never saw anything but grass and some flowers that's it. Well that day I saw what I believe to be magical sheep. There were a dozen or so minding their own business eating grass (I think that's what makes them magical!) and I haven't seen them since, it's been a couple of months too...ever since I started that medication.....nah I'm just kidding. But I do think they are magical, just like the horse. And that's all for today, figured this might be more fun to read than my last post!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Winston Earley Springfield

I am sorry to those of you who don't want to be reminded of him but part of how I deal with things is by writing, so forgive me. I struggle a lot with thoughts of Winston this time of year, well year round really, but even more so around this time because he died June 23, 2004 and I haven't quite found peace about it. Maybe one day I will but for now this is how I'm dealing with it. Mama, thanks for the encouragement the other day.

From Winston:

Have no doubts about me. I am where God has willed me to be. I know you think I should have lived longer, but I didn't, I couldn't... My salvation however is not in my own hands, it never was, praise be to God, or I would surely be damned. "For it is by grace you are saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." and, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
To close I want to tell you all that I love you and I know God will continue to lead you by His Spirit. I go now to see my father and his father before him and my true Father...God. When we next meet I don't know if we'll recognize each other, but all that matters is that we'll be with Him who made us all.

Goodbye for now,
Winston Earley Springfield

The tears I've shed for you are kept in a bottle in God's storage room. I pray God show them to you one day so you can know how much you were loved and how greatly you are missed. There is so much pain in your memory no matter how sweet the time spent. How could you?
So many things remind me of you, songs, movies, a passage in Scripture, a familiar face or someone who just looks an awful lot like you. Sometimes I'll wake in the night with thoughts of you or in the morning when I rise for whatever reason God will lay you on my heart, and I cry. How could you?
I can't wipe away the memory of all the sad faces at your funeral. So many showed up, I wish you could have seen just how many. Your casket was open during the service, I couldn't make myself look, but then someone moved, I saw the profile of your body, your face and I wept. How could you?
My brother was there sitting at the end of the pew. He was fine at first, as fine as you can be at a funeral of a good friend. But after the service I found him outside the sanctuary standing alone, his face was red and his eyes were puffy, it was evident he had been crying. Then he spotted me, his arms out stretched waving me in and I heard him say in a broken voice as we embraced, "You know I love you, right? I love you." This was the first time I'd ever seen him really cry. How could you?
I can't imagine what your mother must have felt, still feels as well as the rest of your family. I don't want to imagine, I think it would hurt too much, much more than it already does. I'm so sad at the talent the world is missing out on because of your death. Even sadder that God can no longer use that talent, it's just a memory. I pray God will teach us something from this tragedy, I pray also that the pain will one day subside. How could you?
Your wish was that we forget you, forget you ever existed. I'm sorry but I cannot do as you ask, I could never forget. I could never forget our conversations, all the fun times we'd shared, watching movies (Fiddler On The Roof!), playing games, listening and watching in amazement to the music you would make up on the spot, your singing, your friendship, I will never forget.
To those you've left behind, I pray for you every year at this time. A time when a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew and a close friend took his life and went to be with our great Father in heaven.
"Now I live and breathe for an audience of One."
Don't forget him.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Well I think I've procrastinated long enough and seeing as how I can't sleep at the moment I figured I'd write about our trip to Scotland a few weekends ago, so here goes!

We left for Scotland on the eve of the 26th of May and arrived around 8pm. We flew into Prestwick which is South West, I believe, of Glasgow. We took the train from the airport to the center of Glasgow. Now maybe we didn't see the "good" side of Glasgow from the train but I must say that it's not nearly as well kept as Dublin was/is. From what we/I saw from the train it was kinda shady, not a place I'd care to walk around by myself at any time of day. I'm glad we only spent one night there. The train ride to Glasgow though was pretty entertaining. There was a group of young guys that got on shortly after we did and sat right behind us, their accents were so thick that the only words we could make out the whole time they were talking were, the bad f word, hamburger and genius! It was quite funny and at one point they started quoting the Chapelle Show, good stuff!

So anyways, one night in Glasgow then it was off to Inverness which was another train ride away. However instead of it being a 30 minute ride it was a 3 hour ride. But the scenery was amazing, rolling green hills with a mountainous backdrop. The hills slowly turned into bigger hills and got bigger as the ride went on and eventually the green hills became brown mountains, it was so pretty, more brown than I expected but still beautiful.

We arrived in Inverness about midday or so and checked into our B&B, which was pretty nice. We then went on a self guided tour of the town of Inverness. It is a fairly big town located right on the Loch Ness River. Our B&B was across the river from the main part of town. There is a castle there also, we didn't take a tour of it because it's their courthouse now so the only way we would have been able to take a tour of it would have been to break the law in some fashion which neither of us were interested in doing.

Well that evening we went on a ghost tour of the town. This guy claiming to be a ghost met a small group of us outside the tourist center and took us around town telling us of Inverness and Scotland's horrifying history involving murders, witches, tortures, hangings, beheadings and the like. He did it in such a way that he made fun of everyone there for whatever reason at one point or another it was pretty funny. James and I were made fun of because we were American. In fact we were the only Americans in the group, the others were English and Canadian. The Canadians showed up late for the tour and so the tour guy made fun of them and asked were they were from ('cause he'd asked everyone that) and one guy said they were from Canada. Immediately the tour guy rolled his eyes and said, "Figures, well I guess it could be worse..." And the same guy that said they were from Canada said, "Yeah, we could be American!" James and I just looked at each other and shook our heads and the tour guys says, "Well the Americans are right over there!" and pointed to us. The Canadian guy felt pretty dumb I would imagine and said he was sorry. We just laughed it off and figured he was an idiot! :-) Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Canadians, how could I, my dad's one! Anyways, it was a fun tour that ended with all of us in a "haunted" bar with a "free" beer.

Oh I almost forgot something that was pretty cool. The first thing we hear and see when we get out of the train station in Inverness was a piping band. There were six or so guys and gals playing the bagpipes and a couple of guys playing on the drums and one guy playing a big bass drum. It was really cool!

Alright so on with the second day in Inverness. We took an all day tour, from 9am till about 7pm, of the Loch Ness area. It was a small group of people from all over, people from Germany, Scotland, Slovakia, Canada, India, Denmark, France, and America (not including James and myself). It was pretty neat though I felt pretty stupid while the tour guide asked what all our names were and where we were from and what languages we spoke. Most people she asked could speak at least 2 languages fluently if not more. Of course when she gets to James and me we told her we were from America she didn't ask us what other languages we spoke she just moved on to the next person. Made me feel kinda dumb but then kinda proud cause everyone of the bus could speak a little English and I thought, yeah that's right you learn our language! Why I thought that I have no idea, I guess I'm just proud to be an American and really miss the ease of living there.

Back to the tour...Our tour guide was really fun. Her name was Alison and she made the tour very interactive, she made fun of us and we made fun of her, it was great fun! She told us all about Scotland's history most of which I don't remember 'cause I don't retain stuff like that very well but it was interesting at the time. We stopped at a bunch of different places most of which were good opportunities to take pictures, which was cool. We made one stop where this older guy was playing the bagpipes, Alison told us that he played the pipes for tourists for a living for the past 20 years or so; and lo and behold what song is he piping when we get off the bus....Highland Cathedral, the song I walked down the isle to get married! Granted I know that's a popular song there but still I thought it was cool!

On the first half of the tour she took us to the oldest crypt type thing that still stands in Scotland. The only way I can describe it is it's a big pile of rocks that has a big hole in the top that looks down into a circular den so to speak that has only one way in or out and that's through a very small opening in one of the sides. Very odd looking structure, I don't remember if we got any pictures of it, I hope so. Surrounding the massive rock pile were five or six really big rocks, I don't know if they were markers of some sort or what but it was really weird. Upon leaving there Alison made us all pick up three sticks for a game to be played later on in the day, James and I missed out on the game, pooh sticks I believe is what it was called. She then made us pair up with someone (I picked James of course) and stand in a line across from our partner. She proceeded to teach us a line dance, one of the easiest and apparently one that is done most anywhere in Scotland where dancing goes on, except for maybe a club but that's a different kind of dance all together. It was cool though and made me think of Jared and Heather's wedding. I wish I could remember the name of the dance, I'll ask James later and post it if he remembers. Anyways, Alison wouldn't let us leave that place until we'd all learned it kinda well. It was really fun to watch the Indians (all males) try the dance, none of them could do it, quite entertaining!

Also on the first half of the tour we got to go out onto Loch Ness not the river but the actual lake part where the Loch Ness monster "Nessie" resides. I'd love to say that we saw her but alas she stayed bottom side the whole 30 minutes we were out there. *Sigh* Oh well, it was fun anyways. On our boat ride we got to see a really run down castle, Urquel Castle, I probably have the spelling wrong but whatever. There wasn't much left to this castle but it was right on the lake, what a great view it must have had once upon a time though! There was a group of four mallard ducks that followed us the whole time we were on the boat ride which was kinda fun. They'd fall behind then come flying in behind us or on the side of us and one time right in front of us! Stupid ducks! After that we went to this exhibition thing that was all about Nessie and if she existed and all that stuff, it was fun.

Moving on one of the stops we made we were able to get out and walk around a couple of trails that were near by, this was on the second half of the tour. One took us by a raging stream/river thing which was really pretty, it set a relaxing tone for me, I don't know about James. Lots of good photo ops. The other trail was across the road from the one by the river and it was mostly up hill, very up hill. Eww and we saw leeches which creeped me out. Anyways once you reached the top of the trail you got a spectacular view of some great mountains some of which still had snow on them! My goodness what a view, breathtaking! Plus the weather was perfect though I know James wouldn't agree with me but it was. It was rainy off and on most of the day and really cold and when we got to the top of that particular trail it started pouring rain, it was great, I loved it! I just hope our pictures come out okay, we'll find out next week sometime.

On our way back to Inverness we stopped at this really big dam that you could walk out on, another good picture op. While we were out there it went from being sunny to rainy and of course our tour lady wanted to teach the group of people that had been picked up for the second half of the tour the line dance she'd taught those of us that were on the first half. So we danced in the rain which, again I thought was cool but I think most everyone else just wanted to get back on the bus!

We made two more stops after the dam. One was to a nice little hotel where we warmed up with some hot chocolate (or tea or coffee, depending on your preference) and a very yummy scone! Now I know why when Europeans go to some place like Starbucks and get a scone they turn their noses up at it because it's just not the same! The scones we had looked something like an English muffin (but that's not what it was) cut in half with some sort of jelly smeared on it with some sort of cream on top of that, oh my, it was so yummy!! So after our snack our last stop was made and you'll never guess what we saw.....cows! Hehehe, but not just any cows these were highland coos! You know, the kind that are really big with big horns and long hair! They were so cute and very smelly! :-P James had wanted to get a picture of one throughout the day and was quite excited when we stopped to see them, so I hope he got his picture that he wanted. And that's it really.

Our last day in Scotland was spent on a train and wandering around Glasgow which was swarming with people! But you remember those mountains I was talking about earlier that had snow on them? Well we saw while on the train that they had more snow on them than the day before! Craziness! It was a great time, we had a lot of fun and it was so different from our trip to Ireland. Scotland was everything and more than I thought it could be, definitely a dream come true! James has made a lot of my dreams come true, marrying me, taking me to Ireland and then to Scotland, two places I've wanted to go since forever. I knew he was the man of my dreams! Anyways, good times and more to come! Yay!