Monday, June 29, 2009

Blessing, Peace, and a little bit of Rain!

Warning - today is going to have lots of pictures!

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The morning started with Margo knocking on my dorm room door at 7:15 am. "Emily, are you awake in there?" she asked. "Uh huh." I moaned realizing that I needed to finally get out of bed. It has become something of a joke among my cohort members that I am a little tired in the mornings. I definitely don't pop out of bed easily, but rather take my time drinking a coca-cola with ice before I am ready to face my day.

We gathered in the dining hall for a breakfast of cereals, fruits, breads and jam. For anyone who has been to England before, I must confess that I am not a fan of Marmite or Nutella. Just butter for me, please! Today, Nancy spread a healthy portion of Blackberry Currant on her toast before realizing that she didn't like it at all.

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After breakfast, our class met in a lecture hall type of classroom off the quad at Regent's Park College. Oxford is actually made up of numerous colleges - Regent's Park being just one of the many, and since it is a Christian school for theological learning, this is where we stay.

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Class members presented 10 minute presentations this morning on various leadership themes implementing both readings from our text and class lectures. It was an enjoyable morning with several creative teaching styles.

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I have to admit, however, that I was most excited when the cook ran into our room about 10:30 am to tell us that fresh coffee, hot tea, and homemade baked chocolate chip cookies (biscuits) were ready for us.

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Class continued with presentations and we finished for lunch about 12:30 pm. The tradition here is to ring the lunch/ dinner bell 13 times to let everyone in the school know that lunch will be served in five minutes.

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We ate a delicious meal. Since I wasn't in the mood for the main course of sausage, onions, and sweet potatoes, I ate heartily off the salad bar:)

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As soon as lunch was finished, Margo and I walked across town to the busy bus station. We met a very interesting couple from New Jersey who were just stopping in England for a few days on their way back to America. They had been at an optomology meeting in Tunisia. We talked for quite awhile and then boarded the bus. Margo then made me a $200 bet, but I'll talk about that when we aren't on the blog.

After a 30 minute bus ride, we got off the bus and walked about a mile up to Blenheim Palace. Blenheim Palace is home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and sits on 2100 acres of land. It was a gift to John Churchill after he defeated the French in 1704. Grateful that the land was still in the hands of the British, the King decided that the warrior needed some land and a title - the Duke of Marlborough! Not a bad prize.

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My favorite part of the palace was the beautiful gardens landscaped by Capability Brown. Maybe I just love the name "Capability Brown!" What do you think James, maybe for our next child?

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I am always drawn to gardens, and I can never resist a good English rose garden. Oh, my goodness, I just want to pick these flowers, put them in my pocket, and take them home with me!!!

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Margo wanted me to take a photo of the beautiful "blessing rose" and I particularly loved the "peace rose." That's how it felt today walking around the gardens - blessing and peace.

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This is the Blessing Rose

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This is the Peace Rose

As we walked back to the palace, we passed a gazebo, just a small little thing, wouldn't you say?

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This gazebo is where Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine. James did it much the same way, you know. Although I don't remember a view of the lake, a rose garden, or a Greco-Roman Gazebo.

Churchill proposed here because Blenheim Palace was his birthplace.

We took the lake side path back to the palace and saw some people fishing on the lake. Margo and I are convinced that it was the 11th Duke of Marlborough who still lives in residence at the palace.

Our tour took a little longer than expected, and we soon found ourselves as the only visitors left at Blenheim. Margo mentioned that it felt like it was her own home as we walked with no one around. Margo, have I mentioned that if this reminds you of home, I am moving in???

Just as we were leaving the gift shop, rain began to fall. We pulled out umbrellas and rain coats, to little avail. We ran through the streets back to the bus stop laughing non-stop as the rain soaked our clothes, our socks, and definitely our shoes.

As soon as we arrived back at the bus stop, the rain cleared and we stood under the beautiful sun waiting for the S3 Stagecoach to take us back to Oxford.

I quickly showered and changed for dinner, and listened for those 13 rings on the bell promising another delicious meal.

The day has been full - but full most of all - with blessing and peace!

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2 comments:

Sherry said...

I have enjoyed "going" on your little journey with you. Love the pics. too.
am glad you are walking in blessings and peace.
hugs to you

Mom2Drew said...

These pictures are just amazing. Keep up with the great updates!