31 December 2010

the big move across the sea

second post of the day.....i really should have kept more on top of this reverb-ing. but even though today is the last day of 2010, i will continue the reverb posts until i have finished all of them....

Defining Moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

in late march of 2010 rhys and i made the decision to move to America. that one decision set in motion a series of events over the past 9 months that have changed the way i view life, marriage, motherhood, myself and family. aside from the life changing decision of saying yes when rhys proposed, i do not think that there has been any other choice, or event, that has changed my life as much as that decision in late march.

i am not opposed to sharing all the gory details of the 'series of events' that decision has created. i am more than willing to discuss the ups and downs of trying to immigrate overseas. (yes, i said immigrate. yes, i realise i am an america so technically i cant immigrate to the states...yadda yadda yadda.) but to dive into all the details would require hours and hours of writing and lets be honest, who is actually going to read pages and pages of intimate details about my life?

so i will leave it at this- a list. because i love lists and they are easy to read.

the decision in late march 2010 to move to america had the following repercussions:

-leaving the only place i have ever been a wife
-leaving the only place i have ever been a mother
-leaving the place of my daughters birth
-leaving behind the most amazing community i have ever been a part of
-walking into the unknown in terms of friends, jobs, living arrangements and well, basically everything
-having to balance green living with life in middle america (basing this on what it was like when i lived there 4 years ago)
-losing the benefits of a mildly socialist government. things like mandatory year paid maternity leave, mandatory 5 weeks holiday a year. mandatory bank holidays where everyone is off. government benefits and payouts for having a baby, being healthy, etc... i could go on and on.
-leaving baby mamas
-losing my independence in more ways than one
-leaving london
-moving to wales
-living with the in-laws
-parenting in 'interesting' circumstances
-living completely out of my control- by others rules.
-created fear of how to live life in my home country
-fear of what it will be like to mother, be a wife etc...
-created stronger faith than i even knew possible
-created a sense of family that is unbreakable

i could go on, but the premise is that since deciding to move to america, our life has been a whirlwind of one life changing moment after another. some have been wonderful. some have been difficult, but necessary and some i could do without. but regardless, no single thing, 2010 or otherwise, has been more defining than the decision to move to america.

and here we are 9 months later and still waiting to go....

a home of my very own!

Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

my OWN space.

can that be a thing? can i want to achieve that? i have put off reverb-ing for a while now in the hope of coming up with something else, anything else, that i want to achieve in 2011. I can think of other things- ultra marathon fitness, quilt making abilities, painting skills, etc... but nothing can even come close to competing with the desire, nay necessity, of my own space.

ideally that would mean owning a house when we move. i am a bit skeptical on that because the cards seemed pretty stacked against us. as of now we have no jobs (in the states) no bank accounts, no credit history- good or bad-no furniture, no household goods, and on top of that we have the added expense of moving a family overseas. we do have a good deposit, but will that be enough? not sure. but even if we can not buy a house straight away, my own space could mean rented accommodation that consists of just me, rhys and eleri. i loved living with leah for 5 months. i liked sharing our friends houses for a month when we were leaving london and it was good (and tough) living with the in-laws for a grand total of 9.5 months. but i am done. done with sharing bathrooms and kitchens. done with sharing the tele and the refrigerator. i am done with sharing a home. done. (and just in case the point was not made clearly enough- i am done. done. done. done!!) i want my own space.

i try to not let myself think about how awesome it will be to live just as a family of 3. i am afraid if i dwell too long on it that i will end up even more frustrated with our current situation. dont get me wrong, we are truly blessed to live in a wonderful home, with kind and caring in-laws. but it is not our home. and i have reached the stage in my life when i no longer want to live with parents. i am a parent myself. and i want my own home.

i have even started collecting pictures for my future home. pictures of kitchens, living rooms, furniture....all kinds of things that i want to incorporate into my own house. realistically i am sure it will be a while before i can have a kitchen that looks like this

and my living room wont look quite like this when i first move to america

but i am ready for my own space whatever it looks like. in fact, i am desperately longing for my flat in london. (ok so that is not entirely true. 380 sq feet was a bit too tiny for a family of 3) but the fact that it was ours, just the 3 of us, was glorious. and that is what i am aspiring to for 2011. my own space.

what feelings will my own space give me? peace and freedom. my own space will be peaceful. not say that there will never be an argument in the house. or that everything will always be 100% smooth sailing. but my home will be governed by my rules (or lack there of) there will a sense of openness -freedom- to be who i want to be, to live how i want to live, to mother how i want to mother...without questions, comments, or concerns. my own space will give me independence. to me that feeling is priceless. i am sure i could write a long list of adjectives describing how my own house would make me feel, but i will leave it at that. peace, freedom and independence.

the second half of the reverb prompt asks what 10 things i can do/think that will enable me to have the feelings described above. hmmm....i could take and pass my british drivers test which would provide me with the freedom to leave the house whenever i choose. but other than that, i am not sure. i dont think that given our circumstances, i can make myself free peace and freedom with 10 thoughts or actions. that is ok for the moment because there are many positives about our current situation. and i have learned a lot through a dependent lifestyle. but ah, the day when i have my own house..... stroll on 2011!

29 December 2010

happy moments

Ordinary Joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

painting with eleri upstairs
going to cassiobury park with eleri
john lewis coffee times
the day we took e to the beach/sea for the first time
walks around the country lanes with rhys and e
the llanfihangel talyllyn fair
reading books with e in the evening
scrubs re-runs with rhys
family movie time
spanish paella
the walk around the pub & church on the bautiful sunny day
splashing at bath time
ball pits at the barn
swinging, with e or just me
writing during nap time
eating dinner together
playing with the martian moon house
the first sunday at ELIM, brecon

if i am honest, it is the little moments that i love the most. the moments that are unplanned and not expected. we have had some amazing big moments this year, i.e paris and birthday parties. but it is the act of daily living that i think provides me with the most joy. and those are my most pleasant memories.

28 December 2010

pizza and a beer

Soul Food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?


ok, ok so beer is not a food necessarily, although Guinness has quite a few calories. but if i look back over the past year, the thing that "went into my mouth and touch my soul" the most was beer.

i only drink beer with friends. i am not really a 'house' drinker. so the times that i have enjoyed the most with my dear friends this year include a pint. party time with the baby mamas. reflex. denmark. hannah's wedding. oli's birthday trip. druids. the coach and horses. 6 nations. autumn internationals. cyprus. paris. all great 'soul touching' times. all had the common element of a pint. i have mentioned before the 'pub culture' that i love about europe and the beer falls into that. my community the past 4 years has met over a pint glass. good memories. i will never forget those times. ever.

i say beer also because i am not much on fancy food. i like food, but i pretty much like any food. my favourite is still chick-fil-a. my favourite in london is either a chip shop by my old flat or our usual chinese take away. see? pretty generic. but if i had to say something other than beer. i would say friday pizza night with rhys. every friday night in london we ordered domino's take away- a large pizza for each of us. we laughed, watched cheesy tv and ate to our hearts content. and believe me, those nights my heart was very content.

27 December 2010

daily moments

and now onto the third post for the day.....

Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

this year was the most difficult year i have had. it has been challenging for my marriage, for me as a mother, and for me as an individual. i wish that i could share one specific moment where i suddenly realised "hey, its not that bad. everything will be ok after all." but there is none. i know that everything will be ok. i do. but there is not a single moment that offers me that reassurance.

daily i have to remind myself that God is in control. that He has a plan even if i dont understand the smallest little bit of it. it is not me, but Him. i have to read scripture. i have to pray. i have to pray with rhys. i have to laugh and run around in circles with my daughter. i have to cuddle her. splash water together with her in the bath. smile and laugh with rhys. cry with rhys. everyday i have to have little reminders that yes, this situation sucks. yes there are difficult family situations and personal trials. but it is ok. there is a bigger plan.

more than anything 2010 has taught me dependence. dependence upon the Lord. dependence upon my husband and dependence upon family. nearly every aspect of my independent life has been taken away from my this year, even right down to physical independence with the leg injury that prevented my from getting in the shower on my own. and through my complete loss of independence, i have gained a greater understanding of what it means to live for Christ and to live for others.

i know that everything will be ok. but i only know that because i have daily reminders. perhaps 2011 will provide more stability and more peace. a better understanding that things are ok without the necessity being constantly reminded. but in 2010 i most definitely needed the steady flow of "it will be ok. it will be ok. it will be ok....."

different parts of me.

Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you

i have spent quite a while looking through my pictures. i am not sure that i can pick just one. thinking about it, there have been quite a few posts where i have listed several things when the prompt specifically asked for one. perhaps that shows that i like options. or maybe it just shows that i am 'wordy'. my thesis advisor in graduate school always told me to be "weary of superfluous words in any text, especially one of an academic nature" granted my blog would not fall into the realm of academia, but i suppose i should take note of the principle. dont overdo it.

alas, i think i must overdo it and include a few pictures instead of just one.

there is the above picture which shows a very large part of who i am and who i hope to continue to be. i love to run. i love athletics. i love to challenge myself in all areas, especially sports. heck i even tried rugby but that was definitely not for me! this is a picture of rhys and i on the first leg of the 3 in 3 days. we were soaking wet and in mud up to our ankles. this particular shot finds us 15 miles in. i have a giant rats nest in my hair which took about 3 hours to get out. and some nice mascara smudges. but this picture also shows, albeit not to the naked eye, a sense of determination, empowerment and even security. rhys and i were together. doing some we love as individuals and as a couple. more over, i discovered a new love. ultra distance running. it is something i am wholeheartedly embracing for my future. an incredible new part of me.

or there is this picture. the two most important people in my life. i am what i am because of them. i cant imagine my life without rhys by my side. everything about him. his sense of humor, his playfulness, his compassion, his energy. he is incredible. and he is an incredible father. even more, i cant imagine one day without eleri. she fills my heart with so much joy. i love the two of them together. and seeing them together really completes me.

this picture is also an option. it is me in paris. i remember exactly what i was thinking in this picture. we had just arrived in paris for our anniversary trip. rhys had gone off to reception for something and i sat down by the window. i was so pleased to be away with just rhys. but my heart was truly at peace for first time in a while. i remember being overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity i had to live in europe. to travel to freely. to explore, to discover, to adventure. those are such big parts of who i am. i hate staying still, in one place, for too long. the proximity of european countries enables me the freedom to travel about at the drop of a hat. love it. plus the culture, the lifestyle. the decoration, the style. i remember thinking, "i will never be the same again- awesome."

but this picture encapsulates them all. rhys, eleri and me. in cyprus. travelling as a family to interesting and exotic places. walking in the same places as biblical hero's. learning about jesus, discovering deeper and fuller aspects of the christian life. rhys in a VERY british sleeveless shirt (vest top as they are called) and a baseball hat demonstrates that i have an obviously british husband who likes his american flare. and i love that about my husband. we are all 'sun-kissed' which is something i would like to be year around (although probably not ever a possibility)and we are having quality family time. include the ultra marathon running, and this is who i want to be, what i want to do. grow and adventure with my family.

hi, my name is....

New Name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

i used to hate my name. when i was younger i would tell people my name was ryan which is actually my brothers name, but i thought it was cooler than my own. for a while i liked morgan. and then i just introduced myself as kris. which was ok because it is a shortened version of my name. in high school no one called me kristina, it was always farabough. and then i started to like my name. or at least my last name. in college it was the same. everyone called me farabough. some shortened it to 'bo' and that i loved. but to be honest, i have never been a big fan of my name.

however, gradually it began to grow on me. kristina wasn't that bad. and ann was a family name. it gave me a strong sense of connection. the older i got, the more attached i got to my name. Kristina means Christian and Ann means Gracious. my mom always used to tell me that i was her littler gracious christian. now that i am older, i love that. the character quality of graciousness is one that i take very seriously. i strive to live graciously; accepting of others, showing mercy and providing forgiveness. the 'christian' aspect of my name takes form as i try more and more to put Christ at the center of all i do. I call myself a christian, in more than just my name, and my actions should thereby follow. names take on new significance when the meaning is focused upon.

then i got married and lost the farabough. i was excited to take williams. easier to pronouce, easier to spell. plus it meant that i was forever connected to my husband in a special way. my name became even more important when i began to pick out one for my little girl. whatever name she was given would be spoken over her everyday. just as my parents continually called me a gracious christian, so i should pick a suitable, powerful and meaningful name for my little one. eleri means sufficient or enough and again ann means gracious. the verse "my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness" is eleri's verse. she is just enough. just perfectly sufficient. God made her just the way He wanted and that is enough. and she is just enough for us as she is. perfection.

i say all that about eleri because choosing her name brought mine to even more significance. she shares my middle name. the same as her grandmother, great grandmother, great, great grandmother and so on. she has the williams last name. my new last name. our family name. i am mrs rhys williams. she is eleri ann williams. i love my family. i love my family name. and though it has not always been the case, i would not introduce myself by any other name. no more ryan's or morgan's or ava's. i am kristina ann williams. nice to meet you!

23 December 2010

2 continents, 5 countries and a whole lot of cities

before i signed into my blog to post for the day, i went about reading other peoples blogs. as a result, i am going to copy my dear, sweet friend Stefanie's idea of today's reverb in pictures. it seemed like a good idea. thanks stef for letting me steal it.

the prompt of today is: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? as i love to travel, this is a particularly lovely topic for me. 2010 had a fair amount of travelling, but here's to hoping that 2011 has even more!

We started 2010 (and ended 2009) with a trip to America. little e's first time in my home country.

here she is on her first plane ride.

January also saw eleri's first trip to a 'fair' or sorts. granted it was inside a mall, but it was a first trip on a merry-go-round. this is an awful picture of me, but check out e's face. awesome.

After america, we had a handful of trips down to Wales. as we were not living there at the time, i am counting those a trips. 6 hours round trip with a baby in the car counts!

February saw us take a late winter trip into Hyde Park on a beautiful, sunny day.

March was an exciting month with Eleri's first trip to continental europe and our first ever trip to Disneyland Paris. it was incredible. e and i went with my sister in law and her 3 year old. the four of us stayed right in the park and had 3 full days of Disney magic.

e even had a try at pulling the sword out of the stone. judging by the look on her face she clearly found the whole process mundane. (and oh my goodness! look at those cheeks!!)

in April rhys and i left e for the first time and went to a wedding down in Portsmouth. I had never been to the south coast of england before. it was beautiful; both the wedding and the countryside.

May proved to be uncharacteristically warm, so we had a big family weekend to london and hyde park (it was a bit too sunny for little e)

no trip to London is complete without a stop off at buckingham palace

June continued the warmth and we enjoyed a rugby tournament up north in the midlands, seeing yet another bit of england i had never seen. (and this is the only picture i can find. not much mid scenery eh?)

I also enjoyed a fantastic trip to denmark with my girls, leaving rhys and the baby at home.

whilst in denmark, i met these two german twins who clearly loved america

at the beginning of July team williams went to Cyprus. it was incredible. here we are as a family standing in the exact spot where the apostle paul stood. pretty awesome.

we also had a wedding trip to colchester up north in england at the end of july. but for some reason my computer wont let me upload a picture, so you will have to take my word for it.

In August rhys and i went to Paris for our 3 year anniversary. we were only there for 24 hours, airport to airport, but it was still an amazing trip for the two of us.

September saw little e and i go to america to visit family. we managed to get a generational picture on both my mom and dad's side of the family. i love these pictures.

November took rhys and i down to the pembrokeshire coast for the challenge of 3 marathons in 3 days. it was gruelling (as posted about before) but an incredible bit of travelling nonetheless.

and that brings us up to now. december. nothing but christmas planned for the rest of this year. we have 3 trips to europe in the works and one to america for 2011 and that is all before april! we shall see what trips we can manage to arrange for the remainder of the year. i cant wait!

22 December 2010

future kristina

Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

dear future kristina,

you are awesome. ok, ok seriously as you look towards 2011, here are some things you should embrace and implement from 2010. BE FLEXIBLE. yes, it was worthy of all capital letters because future kristina, you forgot how to be flexible in 2010. there is a time for routine and a time for order/organization. but there is also a time for spontaneity. things do not, and can not, always go to plan. when you allow for no flexibility in your life the result is a frustrated, annoyed, flustered and self righteous kristina. this is something that needs to be addressed now. if you do not, i hate to imagine how immobile you will be in 5 years.

focus on the positive. it is the people, not the things that matter most. invest in those people- make the effort even if it means 'things' are left undone (i.e. washing up, laundry, elaborate meals etc...) invest in hearts, pour into lives. and the lives that require the most attention are rhys and eleri (and whatever other little ones you have in 5 years) keep your family a priority. it is easy to get distracted and say 'tomorrow i will do that. tomorrow there will be time' but make the time today. one of the biggest lessons learned from 2010 was that it is not the to do list that matters, but the small moments in between. cherish those moments future kristina for they are fleeting.

most importantly future kristina keep focusing on Jesus. the ups and downs of life make more sense when He is by your side. every good and perfect gift comes from Him, but it is within His power to take away as well. remember just how blessed you are, and dont question when things get difficult. remember 2010. remember the hardship and frustration. and remember how faithful God was to pull you through. to provide you with the desires of your heart even in the midst of extreme burden. "in everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success." (prov 3:6) make Him the center of your life Kristina. He is the focal point, dont lose that. spend time as an individual and as a couple grounding yourself in the word. with jesus as the foundation, you and rhys can make an amazing marriage and home.

you had big dreams for the future. i am not sure what will have come to fruition in 5 years time, but regardless keep dreaming big. some dreams stay as just that- dreams. and some become a reality. but as long as you have the spirit to keep imagining what could be, your future will be vibrant, alive and full. you have a great life future kristina. i am sure of it.

2010 kristina

21 December 2010

a bit of a change...

i ran to the bathroom and when i came back, that is how i found eleri. she was giggling and laughing, pointing at me and then at herself. she was so proud that she had managed to wedge herself on her toy basket. little kids are crazy.

now on to reverb-ing for the day. this is the prompt for today: Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) i intentionally did not post on this yesterday because i was not sure how to answer the question. i am still not entirely sure that i have an answer. this year i have had to deal with quite a bit. as a wife, mother and friend there were situations and circumstances that i could not avoid; things had to be dealt with. aside from writing a book and making a quilt, there wasnt a lot this year that i successfully avoided. there were things i wanted to run away from and not deal with, but that was simply not an option. so to enable myself to write a reverb post for today, i have tweaked the question slightly. today's prompt for kristina now reads:

Avoidance. Coming from what you learned in 2010, what should you/do you want to keep up in 2011 when you move that you are scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise assuming that you might not/will not be able to.

this is a question i feel that i can answer. i have high hopes riding on 2011; that it will be a fantastically more peaceful and settled year than 2010. unfortunately with those hopes come quite a bit of fear/anxiety/nervousness/uncertainty. i have mentioned on numerous occasions the benefits of living in europe. i have written multiple posts about the ways i have changed in my heart, lifestyle, attitude and perspective after living here nearly 4 years. some changes i will be happy to let go of, embracing a more 'american' way of life. but some changes i cherish and want to do everything i can to hold on to. those are the changes i am fearful about losing.

there are lots of 'things' that i want to bring over with me; many attitudes, ideas and perspectives that i am terrified of losing. in the interest of you readers, and the time it would take to write it all out, i will limit my answer to the main two. they are as follows:

green living: sustainability, recycling, reusing, carbon footprint...all words that i not only hear on a daily basis, but words that have come to life to me over the past few years. i remember the summer of 2002 i worked with my dear friend tara in Kings Canyon National Park. towards the end of our summer, there was talk of building a road through the back country at 10,000 feet. we were appalled! a road in my back country. the amount of forestry and natural beauty it would destroy- unimaginable. we both said we would come back and chain ourselves to trees if they tried to build a road. that was the closest i had ever come to being a 'tree hugging crazy liberal environmentalist' as those back home would say.

thankfully they have yet to start construction on the road, so no chaining myself to trees just yet. but the principle of maintaining natural beauty (read: the earth) for future generations is the same. if we destroy our environment today through overuse, misuse, carelessness and selfishness what will be left for our children? and our children's children? this is a hot topic in europe (not sure about the states?) but it is a real issue to me.

rhys and i are very adamant about 'green living'. we do our best to do what we can. we recycle, but not just your typical bottles, cans and paper. everything is looked at as what can be recycled. wrapping paper scraps, fruit punnets, envelopes, shredded paper, plastic wrap off dvd's/cd's, etc... we wash and reuse zip lock bags, we use washable dishcloths instead of paper towels. we turn off appliances at the plug when not in use, we watch the heating (no a/c in the UK) we walk when possible. or use public transport. we compost bannana peels, left over food etc..., we never get plastic bags from grocery stores, bringing in our own instead. grow veggies in the back garden. get a large portion of eler's toys from the 'toy recycle' instead of buying brand new. we do our best to stay away from plastic toys with chemicals instead going for wooden or cloth (not all of them. she does have plastic toys) we buy fair trade as much as we can and try not to buy food containers that are not recyclable. we hang our clothes/towels/sheets out to dry so as not to use the dryer (takes a while to dry in the winter though!) and will seriously look into solar panels when we own our own home. we are trying to watch our 'carbon footprint' so to speak and want to do as much as we can to be good stewards of the earth/environment God has given us. just as we are called to be good stewards of money etc... we feel we are to be wise in how we approach our environment as well. (again, read Planetwise by Dave Bookless)

but i am nervous that i wont be strong enough to keep up the changes in america. i am afraid that i will give in to the old kristina ways. it is easier to use a dryer for everything. it is quicker to drive everywhere. if no recycling trucks come to our house, will i be dedicated to go the centers to recycle myself? what about fair trade? nearly everything in the UK supermarkets is locally grown and/or fair trade certified. even big walmart like supermarkets. is it like that in america? i dont know. but i am worried that i will too easily fall back into my old, comfortable habits and the greener lifestyle we have acquired over here will be quickly lost. it worries me.

pub culture: the bar scene in america can not be compared to the pub culture in the UK. they are different. culturally people do not address drinking the same way, therefore it follows that the pub/bar atmosphere is different. a pub in the UK is not all about drinking, it is about living life. no, i do not plan on opening up a 'pub' in arkansas and trying to make british culture. but what i want to do is to bring elements of pub life to my home and friends in the US. the aspects of community/friendship at a pub are incredible. getting together for a relaxing drink and chat. sports fans coming together to cheer on their team. friends dancing around, laughing together. sober moments of communal sadness at a disaster or death. people go to the pub for nearly everything. i want to keep some of those elements up, but perhaps in my home.

i want my house to be open to anybody and everybody. friends, friends of friends, children. food, drinks, games, laughter...whatever the situation calls for, i want my home to be like a british pub. (really? did i just compare my house to a bar?) the point is, the openness and community that exists in the pub culture, i would like to embrace in terms of hospitality in my house.

i am afraid that wont happen. i am afraid that the 'community' aspect will be segregated. a community group at church would be different from the rugby team rhys plays for and that would be different again to people we meet through other means...and so on. i want to integrate them all. welcome anyone and everyone (just like the pub) and bring people together. possible? i dont know. it will take tremendous effort on my part to invest in people and to work to get everyone together. if i am serious about my house and being hospitable, then i need to be willing to invest the time and effort into making that happen. but i am scared to lose the pub culture. i want some elements to still exist in the states. we shall see.

20 December 2010

in remission

i know, 3 posts in one day. i am trying to catch up. almost there.....

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?


this is a simple answer and will be a very short post. i was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. i had several removals which resulted in a fair amount of skin, tissue and muscle being removed. it was not fun.

2010 was to be much of the same. more doctor visits and promises of more removals. however that was not the case. the tests kept coming back positive. gland swelling was miraculously decreasing. cells were coming back 100% cancer free.

in November i was discharged from critical care and released as 'in remission'

woo hoo! healing. i give Jesus all the credit for that one.

and i hope 2011 promises more of the same. no more cancer for kristina!

Jesus and a pint.

Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

christian community

i know that sounds like a bit of a funny answer but it is something rhys and i have never really 'tried' as a married couple. we have an amazing community of friends. friends that are more like family. but not a christian community in the way that i was brought up with it.

i was raised in church my whole life, youth group, mission trips and even a christian university. we had amazing small groups and bible studies. i had an incredible support group of christian friends and i even taught sunday school at the church. i always knew moving out of the buckle of the bible belt and into a big city would be different. and i knew that moving to london was the right choice. i just did not imagine what God had in store for us there.

rhys joined a rugby team the second week we were there (2007) and that became our ministry. there was not a single doubt in our minds that jesus had led us to that specific team for a reason. we poured our heart and souls into those boys. they became our family away from family. we ministered to them in unique ways and brought them into our church (we had an amazing church in london) and those boys, with their families, were our community. it was the most amazing community i have ever been a part of. the love, respect, appreciation and consideration shown one another was a biblical model, whether they realised it or not.

we continued on with the rugby boys the remaining 3 years we were there. we felt that was what God wanted us to be committed to. rugby practice and games conflicted with when our church did small groups. we felt like it was the right decision to stay with the team. and it was. several boys were led to the lord and one is now an active member/leader in our church. God did amazing things in that team. and still is doing great things with them.

but now, looking ahead, i want a different sort of community. drinking pints and talking about jesus is great. i wouldnt trade those 4am pub nights for a billion dollars. but it would be good for me, and for us as a couple, to have a community where the 'feeding' is mutual. i would love a small group/community group like i had growing up. a bible study of sorts. it was hard to constantly be the only two standing for God when no one else believed. it was hard to choose to go to the bar when we were tired and would have much rather had the pot luck dinner with a small group. choosing drunk, rowdy pubs and 2 hours of sleep on saturday nights was tiring. amazing, but still challenging. i think in 2011 a different element of community would be good.

dont get me wrong, i do not want to give up my 'rugby' community. rhys and i are already praying to find something similar when we move to america. but in addition to that, i would love a christian community as well. i would like to give that a try.


Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

i am strong.

having a baby made me realise just how capable i really was. i had a goal of a natural, water birth. while little e didn't actually arrive in the birthing pool, i managed to accomplish the entire 22 hours with no pain medicine. i remember feeling really victorious at the end. i had managed to stick to my birthing plan. i had achieved my goal.

growing into motherhood has daily reinforced just how strong i can be. having a little one completely dependent upon me day after day requires strength and stamina. it is rewarding and wonderful and i wouldn't trade a single day of it. but it is challenging nonetheless.

but i needed the labour, i needed the entire birthing process as my foundation. the entire experienced changed me. not just because i got a baby at the end (although that is wonderful) but the process itself was life changing. and nothing has been the same since. i look at situations knowing that i will come out on top. my internal strength is more than i ever thought before. and i can remind myself of that when things get difficult.

2010 has been an interesting year. i can look back and remember some amazing moments. specifically those mentioned in THIS post. but there were also some hardships. i was faced with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. i had to organise, process, apply and interview with two sets of governments. i moved 4 times. i left my home, my friends and my security in London to move into the unknown. i had a major knee injury that immobilized me and there were major life changing family issues to deal with.

but i am strong.

the 3 marathons in 3 days proved to be perfect closure to this year. the birth began it (ok, it was 2009) and the runs ended it. but even when faced when incredible physical and mental hardship. i can do it. that is a pep talk i often give myself as i tend to wallow. but at the end of the day, i can do it. and if 2010 has taught me anything, it is that i am strong.

writing this out makes me feel a bit 'up myself' as they say over here. i don't mean to come off conceited, i am simply answering the question. 2010 will be remembered as one of my hardest years to date, but also one of great personal growth.

17 December 2010

a dear friend

i remember really distinctly sitting on a bench in the middle of the quad at JBU. The campus was nearly deserted it was so late. i was tired and my friend and i were having an argument. i did not want to be there. i wanted to be asleep. i wanted to be warm, in my duplex- i did not want to be there. the conversation lasted a good few hours. anything and everything about our friendship was covered. at one point about half way through the conversation I realised something. i really cared about this friend or i wouldn't have been there. more than that, i really valued what she had to say because i was actually listening to her. we sorted out our problems, made our apologies, had some laughs and cemented our friendship that evening. and i have classed her as one of my dearest and closest friends since.

we had shared our ups and downs through the years. our backgrounds are as differently as they could possibly be. our perspectives on a lot of things are different. for example, she uses entirely too much garlic. and she saves chicken fat for weird things. but our hearts are the same.

i can think back over conversations we have had and remember different things she has said. anything from cooking techniques, organic food uses, business models, boundary setting and biblical principles. (random alliteration) but this year those words have come to life. i am not sure if it is my circumstances, my surroundings or my life stage. but nearly everything this girl and i have talked about has come alive to me this year. i have learned to set healthy boundaries and in doing so have been reminded of her words. i am eating healthier, organically, and 'strangely' - just like her. i have found myself approaching some different situations, remembering her perspective. her words of advice and encouragement have touched my heart and my mind like no other friend this year.

when i got married i was equal part excited and scared to move overseas. i was ready to start my new life with my super awesome husband, but also nervous to leave everything familiar to me and move across an ocean. this dear friend heard my heart and came to visit for two weeks.

she came the first week in october 2007. she left slightly later than two weeks, which we laughed about as we drove her to the airport in march of 2008.

most people would argue that if you are newlyweds- living in the same country (even the same time zone) for the first time ever, in a one bedroom flat- having a friend come live on your living room floor for 5 months would probably not be the wisest choice. but it was a perfect choice for us. it just worked.

*she is the kind of friend that i am 100% honest with 100% of the time. i could say "you are annoying me, we need our space" and she would leave to hang out with her other friends. (she got a job, made friends....we weren't throwing her on the street)*

she came back to stay when i was 8.5 months pregnant. she knows when to come and just be with me. she knows when to call. she knows when to call me out. she knows when to encourage.

there was a period of time where we talked almost everyday. quite a feet for friends who live on opposites sides of the world. we laugh about the same things. can chug beer almost as fast as one another (i am still faster) know the same people. love the same places. i cant think of anyone that loves camden as much as i do. we have the same sense of humor. she shows me grace in my life like few other people do. one time we almost got kicked out of a pub for singing anti-england songs in favour of australia. (rugby world cup..it does weird things to you) we have made some great memories.

(us in camden)

she was a big part of my life in college. she was a big part of my life in grad school. and she has been a big part of my life since i have been in the UK. she knows my heart like few people do. she knows parts of my that, rhys aside, no one else does. and because of that she can speak into my life like no one else can.

she is wise. she is faithful. she is loving, caring and compassionate. she is hard nosed and firm when she needs to be. she doesnt take any crap (even from me!) she is brilliant, educated, hard working and determined. she is hilarious. she is a great friend.

the reverb prompt for today was Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

the aforementioned friend has given me strength when i didnt think i had enough, laughter when i couldnt find anything to laugh at, a friend when no one else was around, a realistic perspective when my head was in the clouds, a healthy approach on unhealthy eating habits and a sense of normality when everything was changing. it is not limited to 2010, this friend is amazing through out.

thanks leah miller. you have touched my life in so many ways. you continue to do so. you are an amzing person and an amazing friend. i love you dearly.

5 minutes

5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

eleris first birthday party in london. the pinata. the rugby going away party. beer pong. eleri's first birthday in wales. her face when she saw the candles. the first time she said mommy. the first time she learned how to kiss and the fact that she loves to do it all the time. her first word (dog) well, all her words really. her giggle at everything. the first time i saw her run around in circles. and the way she fell over laughing because it was so much fun. the trip to pairs with just me and rhys. our night at hard rock....again. the Eiffel tower all lit up. our 3 year anniversary. my going away party with the baby mamas. the look on eleri's face when she took her first steps. the look on rhys' face when he saw her take those steps. the countless coffees at john lewis. gosh i loved those times. (thanks girls) get togethers at our house. the Harlequin walks with my little one. eleri taking her first steps. the revolving dance floor. balloons tied to my shirt, and then my drink. my favourite chip shop. pub lunches with my parents and little e (wait is that from 2009?) seeing e's face whenever peppa pig comes on. watching her learn her colours and numbers. reading books with e as she snuggles in my lap. christmas decorations with e. seeing santa with e. laughing with rhys. the nights we played scrabble...and connect 4. the skype chats with devi. the visit from devi. moving day. denmark with han and the girls. possibly the best weekend trip ever. louise and her family in copenhagen. think before you speak. stay calm, process the situation, then react. the fun nights dancing away at reflex. my baby and her smile when she does something new. they way e laughs when she gets tickled. or when she tries to tickle us. the way rhys tried to cheer me up that one night just making faces. becoming a british citizen.

i set the timer and this is what came out. no editing. just this massive paragraph of memories. reading it through, it does nicely sum up most of the great memories of my year.

15 December 2010

my whole world

Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

my daughter did not want to sleep last night. at all. we put her to bed at the usual time of 7.30 and by 8.45 she was still wide awake, talking to herself. eventually she started to quiet down and by about 9.15 there was no noise coming from the monitor. i went into the check on her and had to bite my cheek to not burst out laughing. her blankets, dummy and bunny stuffed animal had been thrown out of the crib and were strewn across the floor. my little one was standing up in the corner of the crib, one arm hanging over each side and her head resting on the post in the middle. and she was asleep. little e fell asleep standing up last night. it was hilarious. i laid her down and covered her back up, but i wish that i had gone to get my camera instead. a moment worthy of capture. little e is crazy. and the most amazingly wonderful little person i could have ever dreamed of.

when rhys came home from work yesterday i sat back and watched him and the little one run around in circles, chasing each other. when that got old, they both laid on their backs, feet in the air and played dead beetle, making noises and giggling away. it went from that to blowing raspberries on each others stomachs, to playing 'toss' with the ball, to a very tender moment of little e in rhys' lap as her read her stories. watching them interact is one of the greatest joys of my life. they are so sweet together. they have a very special bond.

that is what i appreciated the most of 2010. my little family. i love spending every day with little e and rhys. my life would be incomplete without them.

unfortunately i do not express enough gratitude to rhys for just how amazing he is. i am not sure if i could actually let him know how much he means to me. but i should try a lot harder than i do. he is kind, caring, strong, godly, brave, encouraging, sensitive, brilliant, hilarious and pretty much all around perfect. i could not have asked for a better husband or father. he definitely deserves more recognition than he gets. he truly is amazing in every way.

even an amazing dj. (i love this picture!)

14 December 2010

me and my quilt

still playing catch up.....

reverb '10 12 December: Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

this moment. this exact moment. we were 40 miles into the race and had literally just crawled our way up and over the steepest mountain of rocks i have ever come across. 300 feet in the air, no more than 3 meters away from the cliff edge and nearly another 40 miles to go. it was an indescribable feeling. i was deep in the midst of a 3 day ultra marathon event. i felt awesome. HERE is the full explanation of what it was like.

13 December: Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

to start collecting fabric

I want to make a quilt. that may make me a little dorky or old fashioned, but i dont care. i want to make a quilt.

realistically i know that it wont be until we move to america. but i want elements of the UK in my quilt. so i am going to begin collecting fabric now. i want my quilt to have a colour scheme, but other than that be generally mismatched. i want my quilt to be big, bright and comforting. i will do this and i will start now.

13 December 2010


i know! two posts in one day!

Reverb '10. December 11: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

  1. selfishness- this is probably the single most revolting issue in my life. i am so selfish sometimes that i surprise even myself. having a little person completely dependent upon me highlights every area in my life where i am selfish and where i should be selfless. being human this is a character trait that i will never eleminate 100%, but my goal is to really address this issue in my heart and mind in 2011, doing my best to eradicate as much as i can. my hope is to not only become a better mother, but wife, friend, daughter and sister as well.

  2. excess/clutter- this has been a big issue for me my whole life. i like stuff. over the past few years i have seen the damaging effects such a lifestyle can have. i have a lot. i dont need as much as i have. aquring as much as i do can be hurtful to both people and the environment. there are elements about my lifestyle that are wasteful and those are the areas i would like to eliminate. not buying as much, reusing, recycling, giving/sharing, and being tidy are all ways i can help to eliminate the clutter and excess from my life. it is actually something i have become quite passionate about this past year. a topic that deserves a full post. (i have actually been working on one.) it will come soon enough. but let me leave you with these two books. Planetwise by Dave Bookless and Green Parenting by Lynoa Cattanach, et. al. whilst i do not agree/support everything advoacted in the books, the majority of what is written is thought provoking and inspiring; a good approach to lifestyle, parenting and everyday living.

  3. the british driving test- the necessity of a british drivers license at this stage of my life can not be expressed enough. since the 28th of october it has not been legal to drive on my american licesne. not being able to drive means i have lost the freedom to leave the house on my terms. i cant grocery shop or go to welsh school. no playgroups for e and no more lunches with daddy. there is no public transport as we are literally in the middle of no where. it is actually an easy problem to fix. i need to book the theroy and practical test, take them, pass and then.....freedom! the test in the UK is quite difficult and i have picked up many bad habits over the 12 years i have been driving, so it prove prove more difficult that i am thinking. but scheduling the test is a good first step. i crave the mobility it will offer.
  4. bitterness- the bittnerness i am referring to is related to one specific person/situation. the situation is not ideal and the person is not right in their actions, but that in no way justifies my bitterness (even though i have been telling myself it does) not only is bitterness unbiblical, but it is very damaging to me and my spirit. it is completely unnecessary and it is time to let it go.

  5. discontentment- in 2011 I strive for a peaceful heart. seeking the truth in every situation and trusting in that is a way that i have found to regain contentment. comparisson, frustration, longing for the next thing, impatience, and believing things that are different from the Truth are all ways i have let myself be robbed of contentment. similar to living selfishly, living in a constant state of contentment is something that i will probably never achieve. all the same, it is a goal to work towards. always seeking the Lord and trusting in the promises He gives will provide my heart with a sense of peace.
  6. selfishness- it is something i want to eliminate as much as possible that it deserved a mention. especially in terms of parenting. i have been reading Dont Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. the princples of biblical parenting that are presented require effort, selfless effort. It is not always about me. Raising a little one for Christ is an everyday thing. something that doesnt get accomplised when i become selfish and lazy.

  7. shared space- this 'thing' will be eliminated by moving to america. gratned we will be with my parents for a bit until we can find a place, but the goal is a home where only rhys, eleri and i live. i can not wait. not sharing space with 7 other people will be wonderful for my marriage, it will be wonderful for me as a person and it will be amazing for our family. i can not fully explain the impact of not sharing space without going into too much personal detail for the blog, but believe me when i say it could quite possibly be the best thing we could eliminate in 2011.

  8. poor time management- i hope that i can actually make big strides in gaining good time management skills in 2011. it is a fairly achievable goal as it takes organization and discipline, things i am fully capable of. i need to be motivated to actually make wise decisions with my time, both with eleri and with rhys. benefits are countless. i can already invision a smoother parenting, smoother marriage and a smoother household.

  9. laziness- this quality ties into selfishness and time management. my own desire to not be productive is something that i fight against often. again, not something that will ever be completely eradicated from my life, but something that needs lots of prayer, attention and effort put against it to live in a more healthy, positive way.

  10. self pity- some of my circumstances this year have been crap. some things i have dealt with health wise, friendship wise and within my family have been crap. and 'crap' is putting is nicely. however no circumstances allow for the amount of self pity i have poured upon myself this year. as one of my favourite movies says, i have allowed myself to swim around in my self pity until my fingers got all pruney. unnecessary and not beneficial. to help eleminate this from my life, i will look for the truth in every situation. not be governed by emotions, spend time helping others, and try to be encouraging in my surroundings- placing the focus off of me and onto something else.

  11. 10 pounds- since my knee injury at the begining on november, i have gained 10 pounds. i know, it is hard to belive. i was running between 8-10 miles a day. then i ran 65 miles in 2 days. then i completelty stopped running while similatneously increasing my food intake. good choice, i know. no exercise + serving dish size portions at every meal = 10 pounds in 6 weeks. i can begin to train slowly the first week in january and by the end of the month i have been cleared to run a 5k assuming there is no lingering pain. i am hoping to say adios to the 10 pounds by then. benefits? my clothes will fit again, i will be fit enough to run long distances, and i will generally feel better about myself. emotionally it will be a huge release to be able to run again; at the moment i feel like a piece of my heart is missing.

letting go of the unnecessary and making the right choice. here's to 2011 and a year of positive living.

12 December 2010

lagging behind....but not failing yet!

I have quite a few reverb-ing to do. i am behind by about 4 days. so i will try and do a few today and a few tomorrow. even though i have not been consistent to post everyday, i still really like the principle. i want to try and answer each question. with that said.....

December 9: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I have a few:

Eleri's fake first birthday party in London. It was amazing! we had all her baby friends, all the rugby boys, friends from church, and rhys' family. a turn out of about 35-40 people is pretty good for a one year old. it was a bitterly cold day in late June. seriously, it was about 40F. despite the chill and breezy wind, we had a tent set up in the local park. a ball pit and a bubble machine for the little ones. a pinata full of sweets for the adults. we had sushi, sandwiches, 3 cakes, champagne, beer, wine, pop and more crisps than you could ever want. it was an awesome day. we came away feeling loved, appreciated and realised just what an amazing family unit little e had.

Oli's Birthday in London. random event really, but it was the frist time rhys and i had a baby sitter. ever. e was 7 months old and it was a much needed break. It was our friend Oli's birthday and he had arranged for a boat trip down the canal. 15 of our closest friends, loads of snacks and drinks and a beautiful sunny day. 2 hours on the boat, and then over to the pub for a big night out with the whole gang. we didnt make it back home until about 3am. it was reminiscent of nights out before little e and a wonderful time with our friends.

my leaving do with the baby mama's. awesome. Chinese food, reflex, dancing, drinks, laughs, and as mentioned before, the revolving dance floor. it was a night to rival all other nights with the girls. it was a perfect way to say good bye to watford and the moms.

all 3 were equal highlights of 2010.

December 10: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

leaving watford.

in my heart of hearts i know that leaving watford was the right decision. most of the time i wish we had not left. i miss the people, the lifestyle, the culture and i even miss our little flat. rhys and i spent a lot of time praying about what out next step would be and without a doubt we both felt it was time to move on. it has been one of the most difficult choices we have made not only in 2010, but in our entire marriage. it was the wisest choice for our family. it was the wisest choice financially. it was the wisest choice spiritually. any angle you look at it, it was the best decision. a hard one, but still the right one. I can see ways that the move has benefited us already as a couple and as individuals. and i can see ways the move has challenged us as a couple and as individuals. I am not sure what our last 4 months in the UK will hold, but i am interested to see what else will unfold as a result of the faithfulness to blindly leave behind our home, our friends and our 'family' to move into the unknown, trusting in the Lord. whatever the future holds, i know that the wisest choice made in 2010 was the decision to step out and leave behind watford.

9 December 2010

Her Majesty the Queen

This is the reverb prompt for the day

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful

if i am honest, it is not my favourite. the prompts up to this point have required good retrospective analysis of the past year. and i feel this one does not...really. as the guidelines for reverb 10 state that i can change a post to make it more suitable to my taste, i am doing so for today.

today i became a british citizen officially. i had my swearing in ceremony with the council official and magistrate. i made my oath to the 'Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second' and pledged my loyalty to the United Kingdom. it was a very important day in the life of kristina. Not only did i fulfil a life long dream of having two passports, it also marks the day that rhys and i are done with immigration FOREVER!! he has his green card and i am british. done. finally.

and even though i still do like America the best, I did take today seriously. I recognized its importance and my choices for the day evidenced a huge part of who i am. so by way of reverbing it, take a look at this picture.

i am wearing skinny jeans because they are a fashion trend i have picked up since being in the UK. my style has changed quite a bit living in Europe and i wanted to wear something that marked that.

i am wearing a pink shirt from ZARA. it is my favourite store. their clothing is stylish yet comfortable. and i wanted to be both.

i choose that specific shirt because it was pink. my mom loves pink. i got a lot of things from my mom, especially my love of clothes, shoes and shopping. we love to shop together. not so much a love of the colour pink but as she could not be there today i wore the colour for her.

I am wearing a ring that my grandfather bought for my mom 30 years ago in Israel. My grandpa was the most amazing man in the world. he was taken from this earth much too early for my liking, but while he was here- he was incredible. he was stationed in the pacific during WWII, decided he wanted to minister to the people of Japan and became a missionary in the war torn country. He built the first post-war church in Tokyo. He wrote over 15 books translated into several languages. he spoke 3 languages fluently. he was kind, loving, gentle, brilliant, playful and by far the most amazing grandpa ever. whenever i want him to be with me, i wear this ring.

i am wearing my pandora bracelet because every charm was given to me by a person who i count to be a key part of my life. to be honest i dont even like all the charms on the bracelet, but i love the bracelet because of what it means.

i am wearing black shell drop earrings that i got in Spain in 2004. It was the first time i had ever been to Spain. I was with my dear friend Stefanie; we had a ball. To me the ear rings symbolize the first time i realised how much i wanted to live in Europe. each time i wear them i am reminded of that trip and how much it developed my love of travel. they were the perfect choice for today as i became an EU citizen. (now i can live in Spain!)

I am wearing a grey sweater from Target. i do love the sweater, but the main reason i choose that sweater over another was because it was from America. being America is really important to me. i LOVE my country. today of all days i wanted to be mindful of my home country, my first country. i am grateful for the opportunities my country has provided me with. i am also grateful to have had the opportunity to live outside of my country for a while.

i listened to the Beatles on the way to the council offices because that reminds me of my Dad. I get a lot from my Dad- my sense of humor, my love of history and my love of music. we once travelled all over the country to find original Beatles albums. I am now only missing two thanks to him. as he couldn't be there, Beatles it was.

i am holding eleri because she wanted to be in the picture. simple enough really.

(really eleri wanted to sit in official council chair but....)

and my hair is down because i like my hair. it is long and it is nice. so i wore it down.

i am sentimental. i am nostalgic. i am family oriented. i long for home while i love being away from it at the same time. i am multi-faceted and i love all my different angles. and, as of today, i have two nationalities to be grateful for. and all of those things make me cool.

so there you go. that is what my reverb post of the day is.

8 December 2010

more fun with a revolving dance floor

Reverb 10: 7 December
Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

i met this group of girls on 5 June 2009. I remember that date specifically because i had pre-booked a train from London to Paris and then on to Normandy for the anniversary of D-Day (6 June). I wanted to go so badly. I then realised that we had our first ante-natal class the same time as we would have to leave for the celebrations. i said we should skip it. rhys said learning about the baby was more important that talking to war veterans. it was the right decision. meeting and subsequently getting to the know the six girls in my NCT class proved to be the most amazing community i could have asked for.

we have shared good and bad times together. having babies within a month of each and going through the exact same things at the exact same time has been invaluable. whilst our birth stories varied slightly, we all had similar views of baby raising. the instant support group that was created by random chance has since become a group of some of my closest friends. the six girls in the class have become an irreplaceable part of my life. never again will i experience birth and pregnancy for the first time. these girls experienced those major life milestones with me every step of the way. i experienced a deep, close knit bond of friendship and community unique to any other. i love these girls. i love the community we have.

we always have fun when we get together. be it with the babies

or without....

we not only share our babies with each other...

we share a love of chips...

and a love of all things crazy. (i.e. the quarter game which resulted in my posing with these policeman, wearing their hat.)

our community also involves dancing, 80's music, Reflex (revolving dance floor anyone?) laughing, coffee, baby facts and pretty much everything else. 2010 was a lot of things, good and bad, but i couldnt have asked for a more wonderful group of girls to spend it with. these girls are awesome!

the reverb prompt had two parts, but i am not sure about the second half. i am a bit fearful of 2011. we are making some MAJOR changes and i have not idea of predicting what will happen. or what kind of place we will be in. but i do hope that we can have a great community of people around us who will love and accept our little family for who we are. i hope that as well leave the amazing community of friends and support that we have here, we will be stepping into something just as great....simply on the other side of the world.

7 December 2010

happy christmas peppa pig

before i mention anything else, i would like to first and foremost remember the brave men and women who lost their lives on this day back in 1941. today is the anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks on American soil. Today let us remember all those involved in Pearl Harbour; all those who fought, all those who died. THIS is the post i put up last year, which interestingly enough is the most read post on the blog. over two years of blogging and it is this post that recieves the most attention. hopefully that means people still have interest in american history and a desire to cherish those brave soliders who fought on that fateful day.

let us remember and honour those veterans today with our thoughts and prayers.

if i could paint with little e every day i would. it is not realistic because if we painted every day, every single piece of clothing e owns would be covered in primary coloured paint stains. the mess is unbelievable. as i think about my painting sessions with eleri, i realise that there is a parallel between craft time with team williams and parenting with team williams. when we paint or use markers, there are boundaries- not on the walls or furniture, not intentionally on the clothes, only on the tile floor and no eating the paint. but everything else is 100% ok. e is free to explore and create within those boundaries. once she dipped her feet into the paint and ran around the kitchen floor making little green footprints. e ran in circle after circle until there was no paint left on her feet. she continued to run in circles, only now she was pointing at her footprints and giggling. i want eleri to know that she has the freedom to be herself. to help create her world to be whatever she wants it to be. but she must stay within her boundaries. when she crosses the line, the discipline is swift.

that is exactly how rhys and i parent. eleri has wide boundaries, lots of freedom. but she is expected to operate within her boundaries. as way of a mid paragraph disclaimer, we are aware that e is only 16 months. her boundaries/freedoms are age appropriate. we base our restrictions and our discipline of eleri's cognitive ability. we know what she does and doenst understand. we have not set an unrealistic set of boundaries, but given her an appropriate perimeter on which she can explore and learn in the ways she chooses. our approach is based on trust. when she is older, say teenager, we would like to parent the same way. for example, we will trust that she is where she says she is, and will keep us informed on what is no going. no curfew will be necessary because she will keep us in the loop. we will trust e that will act according to biblical principles and choose to honour not only her father and mother but her Heavenly Father as well. perhaps it sounds unrealistic, but our aim is to create a family unit of love, respect and trust. and even though the topic of today was only about making things, i have included the extra bit on parenting because i want to look back on this, remember how we started off parenting and see what happened. that is the joy of blogging/journal-ing. it is a great way to keep detailed records.

with that said, reverb 10 for 6 December:

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

peppa pig christmas drawings. eleri loves peppa pig. i am not even sure how we came to watch peppa pig for the first time. but e simply can not get enough. praise baby, baby einstein, your baby can read....nothing on peppa pig. which is bizarre because it is quite possibly the most poorly drawn cartoon i have ever seen. it is a 2D drawing of a pig- the body is a giant circle, the head is rather phallic shaped with stick legs and arms. peppa pig, zoe zebra, susie sheep and so on. the episodes are 4 minutes each and eleri could watch them for hours.

the other day we got a peppa pig magazine for the car trip to and from London. it came with stickers, colouring book, crayons and cut outs. here are the results of our most recent creative time....

for the backdrop, we used cereal boxes that we opened up, paint, markers and peppa pig cut outs. we put some sticky dots on the back of the figures and the little one stuck them down on the paper. and she may have gotten one stuck on her cheek...

as for other things, i am nearly finished with a scarf i am knitting and a blanket for eleri is about half finished. i would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to make a quilt. my mother in law has a sewing machine and if i could find the time, you can bet that i would make a quilt. one day.

6 December 2010

i dont like letting go

only 19 days until christmas! that is less than 3 weeks! i am so excited i can hardly stand it. we have big plans for eleri this christmas season- seeing santa, feeding the reindeer down at the local farm, lights at the zoo, candle light carols and the lighting of the village christmas trees over at the pub. so excited. e's little face when she saw the christmas tree in the living room for the first time was amazing, truly priceless. her eyes were huge as she squeaked excitedly, pointing at the tree. she kept looking at me, then at the tree, then pulling on my leg and pointing at the tree. i told her she could go touch it and let me tell you, she took off as fast as those little legs would go. we intentionally put eleri appropriate ornaments on the bottom branches and for a good 30 minutes she was occupied taking the ornaments off and putting them back on again. it was a great moment for eleri and an even better moment for me watching her. i cant wait to see her face for all the other christmas adventures we have planned. did mention i love christmas?

following in the footsteps of yesterday, no smooth transition, just the reverb 10 question for 5 december:

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

expectations. every last one of them.

i have come to realise this this year how very different dreams are from expectations. i have more than my fair share of crazy dreams/ideas. it has been discussed on this blog before, just how insane some of my ideas can be. and even thought i truly do believe all of my ideas/dreams can become a reality, i am still realistic enough to know that at the core it is still a dream. but expectations are different. as the word says, we expect them to happen. we expect those dreams/ideas to become a reality.

going into most situations we have an idea, or expectation if you will, of what it will be like. we all imagined how great going away to university would be, most girls had huge dreams and expectations for their wedding day, then expectations of what marriage would be like, children, work, our bodies, our friends, pretty much every little thing in life we have an expectation of. we expect starbucks coffee to be hot, frothy, and slightly overpriced. the chain faithfully proves those expectations true therefore we continue to go. we expect both incredible challenging and amazingly wonderful times in our marriages. this usually proves quite true. we have any number of expectations ranging from small, daily activities to life long friends and family. but whatever the situations, rarely do humans enter without some kind of expectation.

i had all kinds of expectations of what it would be like to have a child and then raise said child. it is tough to know what to expect with a baby because if it is your first, it is an entirely new experience. with that knowledge i was quickly able to let go of my expectations for a while and focus on my personal situation. but with the coming of january 2010, rhys and i seemed to hit a wall. we knew it was a time for a change. the beginning of 2010 marks the beginning of my heart, mind and will being stripped of all pre-concieved expectations and begining the slow process of learning to live on trust alone.

i had many thoughts on what my life would be like once i had a child. my friends back home (thats you guys in america!) had the life that i imagined. a home, a church, a yard, a hospital, friends, a small group, play groups etc... but little e came to me in a completely different surrounding. funnily enough it took me almost a year to really accept that. i had expectations of my home and my life that were not coming true. at all. i wanted my own house, room for e, a nice recycling bin, a dishwasher perhaps?....it didnt mean my life was bad, just different than i had planned on. and it took me a while to overcome that obstacle of failed expectation.

with the decision to move to america, i began to form new expectations. we will move in this many months, buy this house, be settled, own this dishwasher, get this christmas tree and so on. but here i am 6 months after leaving london...still in the UK. not in my own space. once again staring down the obstacle of failed expectations.

consistently this year i have had to let go of MY plan and put my entire being into the safety net of God's plan. trusting in Him is a lot easier for me to type out here than it is for me to actually do. some of my expectations this year have been easy to let go of. because i have a tendency to be a bit, well, insane it was easy to realise the 'crazy' in some of my ideas. but other expectations have become a tug-of-war match between me and the one who is making me let go. i am fighting for dear life to hang out to my crap idea of a future when if i would only let go i could start making my way into the wonderful plan is waiting to be fulfilled. it is hard to let go. even if it is for the best.

so looking back now, 11 months since the start of 2010, i can safely say that the thing that stands out the most, the things that i have really had to let go of, are nothing more than my own expectations of life.