Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bad Hair Day for Penguins

Today we ventured forth to a Pottery Craft Fair in the rain. Obviously all who attended were die-hards. The weather did not dampen their quest for the best pot. I found a fabulous one to match my dishes. Of course, it had a British feel instead of African. Well, I couldn't help it . . .

Next stop, the African penguins of Simonstown, a suburb outside Cape Town. These jaunty creatures are unique to this area, and were in the midst of their 21 day molt in preparation for summer.

This poor guy was having a bad hair day. Which inspired another title for my future picture book projects. I can think of a title and get it started, but it's the middle I struggle with. 

Here are a few more views:

Gorgeous terrain . . .

This fella looks like he's wearing a fur coat!

Afterwards, we went for a coffee . . .

And took a few photos of these crazy, whimsical metal sculptures:

And saw a bird of paradise in the wild. . .not since Papua New Guinea have I seen these!

The next morning, before taking off for Johannesburg, we worshiped with our black sisters and brothers at Kayamandi Baptist Church. Wow! Those ladies sure knew how to sing praises to God! They danced around in a circle as the Spirit led:

One sister reminded us from Hebrews to 'follow God's pattern' in all we do:

All in all a lovely day to say goodbye to our dear friends the DuBerts and head to the East.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Exploring South Africa

We have been on the go non-stop since we hit the ground in Johannesburg six days ago. Which is definitely my speed. Thanks to my good friend and former college roomie, Karen, we packed everything we could, weather permitting into these past few days. 

So, join me as we explore our first destination: Cape Town (and environs)!

Our first stop, of course, was Table Mountain, now one of the new 7 wonders of nature. After having a nice look around town, the Red Bus tour wound its way up the hills and to the base of the cable car. The base revolves, so everyone, during the 5 minute journey, is able to get a good shot out an open window.

Africa has its own plant kingdom, identified as "Cape Floral Kingdom" which has 1,500 unique species. Many are found at the top:

The views, of course, were magnificent!

And the rock formations were just as interesting:

Along with the lush greenery:

Continuing the Red Bus Tour, we stopped at Camp's Bay, where the rich and famous go to hide (and film). Since filming costs a fraction of US prices, and the location is similar to the California coast, Hawaii, and many other islands, it's perfect:

That evening, we stopped at Pick and Pay to buy groceries. I chuckled as I perused the foreign products. This one caught my eye, and Dan dutifully posed:

When we arrived at our lodgings, this stunning sunset came into view. Table Mountain framed perfectly!

The next day, when we planned to go to Robben Island (leper colony and apartheid prison), the weather refused to cooperate, so, Karen suggested we drive to Franschhoek and see the Huguenot memorial, and take the Winery Tram Tour. Brilliant!

In the memorial gardens, there were lovely Protea blooms, the South African national flower:

Then, on to the tram tour!

We visited three wineries. . .each having its own 'flavor', much like Tuscany. Here are a few shots:

My drink of choice . . . Can't go wrong with crystal clear water!

One winery had sculptures . . .

Sculpture sillies:

We thought this description was a hoot. . .

A beautiful end to the day!

And a beautiful view . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Writer's Block or Procrastination??

It's good to be working on my biblical fiction chapter book after a couple of frustrating months. I just couldn't put my fingers to the keyboard. Then I pondered the answer to the question above.

I'm honored to have my post featured on Becky Fyfe's ChaBooCha (Chapter Book Challenge) Blog today.

Which do you struggle with? Find help HERE.

A pic of Charles Dicken's manuscript reject pile, from his home office in London. It's preserved to remind us we aren't the only ones who struggle.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Write Connections

I'm posting my writer's journey as a pre-published author on Julie Hedlund's 12x12 blog today. Stop by to find out more about the connections I have made thus far!

Monday, July 6, 2015

An Idyllic Day in Every Way . . .

We couldn't believe all the surprises God had in store for us, thanks to your prayers, and graced by His goodness!

The day began with a wasp sting, as I tried to remove him with a Kleenex. The fella had stayed in our room all night. No redness or swelling. . .grace!

A couple at the guest house offered to take us and our luggage to the train station to pick up our car. A surprise!

Olivia and I prayed for wisdom, attentiveness and safety before starting the engine. I drove out of the lot and onto the York city streets at rush hour, and took to left had driving with all its turnabouts with aplomb. And oh, did I tell you that a garmin was waiting for us, an hour earlier than expected? Grace upon grace.

We took off as our GPS instructed us. The voice had a lilting British accent, gently instructing us as we went along. I was thinking of a name for her. Of course, it had to be literary. And it came to me. . . Mary Poppins. Perfect! "Take the second exit at the turnabout and. . .let's go fly a kite!" You get the picture. Olivia and I began to sing that song as we moved along. 

I have been admiring these brilliant yellow fields along the way, which I am told, are Rapeseed, used in industry. Hard to believe such a sweet fragrance, almost like honey, could come from a flower used in that way.

Our itinerary is so full. I wanted to take the time to visit the coast, but was having a hard time fitting it in, since it was in the opposite direction to our Brontë tour. But, the thought came to me to head there today, and to focus on Whitby. It has a literature connection as well (naturally), as the Whitby Abbey inspired the novel, "Dracula". Not that I have read it, or endorse it, but, I am always fascinated with where writers get their ideas. See for yourself:






We had to pay for parking everywhere, but each time, we were able to see the sights in the allotted time. Here is the charming town of Whitby:



We then took some time to park and walk along the Moors road. So beautiful and wild.



This is what the heather looks like in the spring. It doesn't bloom until fall:

Then, we headed for our lodging near Ripon, but we both felt we needed a good cup of Yorkshire tea (strong, full bodied, but not bitter. . .such a pleasure to drink!) Well, we learned something these past few days. Afternoon tea begins and ends in the afternoon. Don't dare go into a tea shop after 4:30pm, or you will be sorely disappointed, or worse. . .turned away. 

Two of the shops were closed by 4:30pm, one had just closed, and the fourth was just turning the 'open' sign around when I quickly walked in and asked (actually pleaded) for the owner to sell us a cuppa. I told her our sad story. Well, more grace. She agreed! And after we had paid, and I thanked her most profusely, she said with a smile, "Well, I've done my good deed for the day." And I'm grateful she did!

We made it to Ripon safely, and stopped for a bite to eat. Olivia noticed pigeon on the menu, and said she'd like to try it. I told her I was 'game', too. (I just hoped they weren't imported from Chicago.)

Ta da! It actually tasted almost like duck, but tougher, similar to the texture of beef. So, we ate the bird, and then noticed something hard in the flesh. When we asked what it was, the waitress said, nonchalantly, "Oh, that's shot. They can't use a large bullet, because it will tear the bird apart." 

Like it was no big deal to find a stone in your meat! I'm just thankful I didn't break another crown. Another sign of grace today.

We arrived safely at this charming 1300’s (believe it) farmhouse called 'Mallard Grange'. I thought I was transported to France. So idyllic. . .even the smells were present. Wish we could stay for more than two nights! 

Maggie, the owner, was explaining the marks on the sheep. She said they identify the mothers with their babies, and their date of birth, in case they are parted from one another. The herders search for them if lost at the end of a day. We caught a couple of lambs sneaking under the fence to cross the road, but skipped back to mother when we drove by!

Look at our adorable room. . .isn't it right out of 'Country Living Magazine?

So, I bid you all goodnight. We need to rest up for a full day tomorrow. Resting in God's grace and mercy.

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel