Starbucks, maybe more prevalent in London than America

Day 3 started out with us oversleeping. This cannot happen tomorrow as our booked tour departs at 8 AM. While yesterday was raining and cool, today was just cold. I laughed out loud when the girls said, it is June…its suppose to be warm everywhere! I love that our world travels remind us that the world can be vastly different wherever we go. Today was in the 50s and windy and to put this in perspective, this is about as cold as it gets in the winter in Florida.

Our morning started out with a visit to the Tate Modern Museum. What I love about the London Museums are that they have impressive exhibits available for no cost. The Tate Modern does a great job at presenting art in the periods of time in which they happened. Today we looked at artists from both the surrealist and the realist styles of art. One of my favorite things was the Tate Modern timeline that gave us a view of the different styles of art that were in play throughout the world during the 20th century.

We had to have lunch and leave quickly afterwards from the Tate Modern so we could make it to the Globe Theatre in time to watch our afternoon show of Hamlet. The Globe is a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre and the company performing Hamlet did an excellent job (Mr. Levine, is it too late to get extra credit in English for seeing a Shakespeare play at the Globe?). As we left the Globe, it was getting colder, so we walked across the Millieum Bridge and got a glimpse of St. Paul’s cathedral, famous for the Prince Charles and Princess Diana wedding.

But it was cold, so we decided to take a cab to Harrod’s and shop! At Harrod’s you can shop for anything. And we did…for shoes, clothes, wedding dresses, chocolate and food. It was pretty amazing.

As we finished our trip to Harrods and headed to the Chelsa neighborhood for dinner. And then home to get to bed before we visit Oxford, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle tomorrow.

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We made it to England!

We arrived in London early Sunday morning after flying all night and despite our strong desire to attend church, due to long lines in customs, we missed services at both Westminister Abbey and Hillsong London (although we are are sure the Abbey would have won because we attend an amazing Hillsong-like church every weekend in Florida).

As for sleep on the flight… it did not happen for most of us (except for Craig). So Sunday was a day to see how long we could fight the jetlag. At about 2 PM, the jetlag won. But before that we checked in to our wonderful hotel; saw Westminster Abbey and Parliament from the outside and walked across the Thames to the Eye of London. This is where we collapsed, returned to our hotel, took a two hour nap and got up to spend the evening in the nightlife of London.

We had dinner at a traditional British pub in the shopping district on High Street. I had forgotten how good Fish and Chips tasted with Malt Vinegar. The streets were bustling when we entered the pub at 6 pm and when we left at 8 pm, the city was empty and we enjoyed a quiet cab ride back to the St. Ermins hotel.

Monday morning started out early (for us). Breakfast at 9 AM followed by a trip to the concierge to book tickets for the evenings. Craig was able to score tickets for Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre in the West End on Monday night and 2 PM tickets to see Hamlet in the Globe Theatre on Tuesday. Wednesday we will visit Oxford, Windsor Castle and Stonehenge.

The rest of our Monday was spent revisiting Westminster Abbey (the inside) and Trafalgar Square and while tea at Kensington Palace was not available, we did manage to score an afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason, in the Jubilee Room. Fortnum and Mason has to compete with Harrod’s for an amazing historic shopping experience.

After tea we returned to the hotel to prepare for our evening in the West End Theatre district. What I loved about the theatre that Craig chose for us was that it was the perfect combination of intimate theatre and highly professional talent. I’ve seen Les Mis several times, but never quite as good as this!

Its late and the end of an amazing evening!! We’ve had little internet access here in London, so I will post this when I can. 🙂 More to come…..

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Our last day in London

Wednesday was our last day in London, so we launched out on a full day tour of the countryside. Our first stop was Windsor Castle one of the three castles owned by the Royal Family (Windsor, Kensington and Buckingham). Windsor is the oldest continually inhabited castle in the world. As long as the queen is on the throne, these three castles are hers because she is queen, but when she decides to pass the throne on to the next generation, she will have to make do with her privately owned castles, like Balmoral (we see this one later in the trip).

After we left Windsor Castle, we headed to the English Countryside to find Stonehenge. To be honest, no one knows why it exists or how long it has really existed, but it was an archological site when the Romans invaded England around 45 AD. Some of the first stone placements and animal bones found there date to around 3000 BC. It was cool to look at and read about all the theories, but in reality, there are really no stories here about why someone put a bunch of stones out in the middle of nowhere.

Our last stop in the trip took us back toward London to Oxford, England, home of the great Oxford University, one of the top 10 universities in the world. It is a very old institution made up of dozens of colleges. You don’t actually apply to Oxford University, you actually apply to the specific college you are interested in, such as Trinity College or Christ College. If accepted to one of these schools, then you can say that you attend Oxford. Tuition is not bad, as it is public university and is subsidized by the state. If you are citizen of this country, you can attend for about 3,000 british pounds a year or about $5,000. If you are an international student, that cost goes to about 20,000 british pounds per year or about $30,000. Of course that’s assuming you can get admitted in the first place. 🙂

There have been things in this country that have surprised me and some that have made me feel pretty blessed. The cost of tuition and some goods in this country were definitely lower than I expected. But you also have to pay to use a public toilet. I have put this on my top ten list of things that the Brits need to change before the Olympic Games. I’m pretty sure the rest of the world does not pay to pee. Also, the Brits incorporate the tip into the bill for you, but the standard tip in the UK is about 12%. The first few days we added on additional tips and then we realized that this is not part of the culture, so we just stopped paying the extra. I recommend those Brits increase their standart to 15% for the Olympics before the American’s arrive. 🙂

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Our upcoming trip to Europe

It’s hard to believe that we have reached the end of yet another school year. Sydney, approaching her 16th birthday this summer, is driving and finishing up the 10th grade and Summer, 14 years old, has just completed her final year in middle school. Its hard to believe that I am the mother of two high schoolers!

Some of my fondest memories growing up were the trips my parents took us on to visit historical sites. The things I learned and saw on those trips were a great influence on what I chose to study in college and in the career I chose to pursue. So I am really excited about the trip we are taking this summer and especially the chance to share it with my girls at this time in their lives.

On Saturday we leave for a 16-day trip to Europe. Our first stop is in London, where we will struggle with the decision of attending church at Westminster Abbey or Hillsong London. 4 days later we will travel to Edinburgh, Scotland and will spend a week visiting the Scottish Lowlands, including stops at castles and small towns, some of the places where the Maccubbin ancestors made their home in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Our next leg has us traveling by train to Bordeaux, France where we will investigate the vineyards of Medoc region. And finally we will travel to Paris, where we will meet up with Christy and Erik (my sister and brother-in-law) for 4 days of touring the city, including dining on the Eiffel Tower.

We will then return by train to London for our final day and a flight home.

My hope is to post daily updates from the road. I’m sure it will depend on wifi connections and the such, but I so enjoyed blogging from the China Olympics. I love to share all my experiences with my friends. In the meantime have a wonderful last week of school!!

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My amazing girls!

I have blessed in so many ways in my life, but definitely at the top of my list is my family.  God gave me a very wonderful (patient and understanding) husband and two beautiful girls — inside and out.  I am a strong believer that God puts people in my life to teach me more about Him and my girls, through their lives, do an awesome job at that.  Recently, our oldest and along with some of the girls in our college ministry began working on a pretty special project on Tumblr.  And since her blog writing is much better than mine, let me send you there without further ado….

The Body Project with Sydney Maccubbin

Photography by: Katie Sayer — http://ksayerphotos.tumblr.com/

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Thoughts on Forgiveness

The ladies shared this quote in Bible Study this morning and it was so good I had to go home and look it up! God has truly blessed me with some wonderful people to do life with!

Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.

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Blessings

As the girls and I have headed back to school I am once again reminded that the blessings of God can often be found in the challenges of life.  Especially as He uses them to shape and grow us. 🙂

One of the songs I have come to love is by Laura Story.  It is called “Blessings.” You can view the video below, but I also love the story behind it (see the second video).

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Videos from our Trip to Costa Rica

While we were in Costa Rica this summer I took some videos of our adventure to the San Luis Canopy Tour.  In addition to ziplining you can take advantage of two other optional activities — the Tarzan Swing and the Superman.  Below are the video of the Tarzan Swing for several of us.  It was total fun!

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Reflecting on Year 2

Summer has seemed to fly by this year and as I look back on my writing, it has been months since I’ve really been engaged. I tried for a bit in June, but heading out to Costa Rica with the family and then to church camp with the kids left me little time to reconnect with an activity that I really enjoy in my quiet time.

As we finish our second year in Florida, I am amazed when I think that it has only been two years. I look at the amount of change that has happened in our lives, especially in the girls lives, and it seems like we have been here for at least 10 years. Even our youngest, who was extremely upset about leaving Texas (the only home she really knew), now talks about how God brought us to Florida and the work He has done here in her life. I love to see how connected the girls are with their church and friends here in Florida.

More and more I have seen God’s hand in my life as well. It has been exciting to work with the teenagers and young adults at church. God uses their energy and excitement for “all things possible” to remind me that no matter how old I get or what my life experiences have been, God is in control of all things. He has an amazing plan for my life if I will get out of the way and let Him do the work.

One lesson keeps coming back to me over and over again these last few years: The most important intimate relationship I can have in my life must be with God. It is more important than a boyfriend or girlfriend, than a spouse or children or any other friendship. If my intimate relationship with God is right, then it will serve as the solid foundation for every other relationship that I have.

As I watch my girls grow up and as I grow up myself, I am learning the importance of imbedding this principal in our lives early and often. It is not something that society will teach us or often even our churches. We live in a culture where our relationships with others defines our self-image. We spend time and energy seeking the love of others that ultimately will never fulfill us.

I have so enjoyed the notes I have received from my friends over the years that remind me of how God has used me in a particular place and time.  Those experiences come and go as do the people in my life.  I love how He has used both friends and experiences to grow and shape me into the person I am today, but ultimately the only relationship I will have forever is with Him.

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Agape Love…to cover in silence

One of the Bible Studies I have been working through over the last several months is Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. Right before I misplaced the book (this weekend while cleaning and unpacking) there was a section that really challenged me that I wanted to share.

The context is Agape Love and 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve heard this scripture read so many times in my life, and it has challenged me in my human relationships (phileos and eros and storge) but it never struck me to read this in the context of Agape Love. Beth challenges us to read it aloud replacing the word “love” with “agape,” and in doing so I was particularly challenged by verse 7.

Agape always protects…always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The greek word for protects is stego and translated it means: “to cover in silence.”

When it comes to my friendships, I can honestly say that what is shared with me stays with me. I have had friends share the deepest corners of their hearts with me. They have shared their weaknesses and transgressions, and my strongest internal values tell me never to speak of those words that were trusted to me other than in a personal prayer between me and God.

But when it comes to my family, especially my girls, it is way to easy for me share my concerns with others. Maybe it is a frustration with grades or organization issues or just general disagreements. If someone asks, I am way to willing to share my frustrations about our family weaknesses. When it comes to my family, I need to do a lot more “covering in silence.”

We all mess up in life, but one of the most painful experiences in life can be knowing that your weaknesses and transgressions are the subject of the discussion of others.

I also love how this verse ends…Agape always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Those last three characteristics are so much easier when you know that love is protected. That our deepest secrets, daily struggles and our past transgressions are “covered in silence” by those who care for us most.

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