So many good things about coming home. So hard in many ways, as well. Now that the jet lag has worn off, I’ve started the sorting process. Sorting thoughts, pictures, emotions, and ideas.
Our trip was fantastic, most of it above and beyond our expectations. Although I did discover that I am not a city girl and that leaving London caused me little pain, I do believe that I left my heart in Cartmel, Cumbria! It’s possible I was made for Lakeland village life. Alright, who wouldn’t be cut out for a quaint little village full of stone cottages, flowers, a landscape of mountains and pastures, and a medieval priory?
I hope I never forget any of it, but especially our week in that charming little cottage, walking to the village store for fresh and delicious groceries, popping in and out of lovely little shops and selecting gifts along the way. Sleeping in most mornings, whipping up a full English breakfast, and setting out for the day’s activities. Rowing on Lake Windermere, hiking the fells (both of our hikes were about eight miles long!), shopping in Bowness, spending a day in Ambleside perousing the Charlotte Mason Archives. So much quiet and peace and rest. So much beauty I thought my heart would burst.
Our experience was certainly a soul-filling one. There are things we didn’t get to, of course, that we would have liked to include, such as driving over to Hilltop farm in Sawrey or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. However, our slower pace and restful schedule enabled us, I believe, to fully enjoy this second honeymoon in a place I have longed to visit since childhood.
So as I continue to sort, I will regale you with tales of our adventures. Pictures will abound, I’m sure, as we took many! Thoughts that came to me as my soul was assailed with beauty and my mind was at rest, the tension melting away as day after wonderful day passed. Excerpts from the Charlotte Mason Archives, if of course I obtain permission to share them with you, for the literature-based homeschooling enthusiast amongst you. If I cannont share word for word, I will certainly put what I read into my own words, for I came across exciting and inspiring things in that small dusty library!
I know that not everyone can escape with their soulmate for a lengthy European vacation. I am truly and humbly blessed to have had such an amazing experience. However, for those of you out there who feel like you are struggling to keep your head above water, your spiritual thoughts muddled, the beauty of life faded from your perspective, I highly recommend stopping in your tracks and changing gears for a week or two. Surround yourself with what is beautiful and soul-enriching. Have a quiet dinner and a long conversation with your spouse (this can be done with a homemade meal served by candlelight with the children in bed and asleep!). Use interlibrary loan to rent some heart-stirring, thought-provoking films. Borrow or buy some pretty magazines and books. Set aside some of the grocery money for a lovely bouquet of flowers. Tidy up the house, put on some restful music, light some candles, maybe even see if your children can go to a friend or relative’s house for an afternoon so you can have a bubble bath and a cup of tea. Turn the television off, set the cell phone to silent, and spend some time in prayer and reflection, asking for a renewed vision and hope so that you can keep pressing on in love and service for your King.
Lavish vacations are wonderful, but opportunities for rest and refreshment abound, with a little effort and creativity. So go plan your next restful, soul-filling break and resolve to act on your plan!