30 July 2014

Lichfield Tour (Part One) and a Blast to My Past

Sister Mace took me out last night for a little tour of Lichfield, and we had so much fun! I'm still pretty slow, so I only saw half of it... but we'll finish up another night. But what I've seen so far I've absolutely loved. It's another small, charming English town, but it's big enough to have not only it's own cathedral, but several other rather grand churches, along with some great historical sites. Right up my alley! :)

St. Mary's church, but no longer used as a church...
One of Lichfield's claims to fame...

The spires of the cathedral visible through the trees. That little platform in the bottom right corner with the iron railing in front of it is the 'Speaker's Corner' where you can stand and basically complain about whatever you want.

Lichfield Cathedral

Front entrance to the cathedral... isn't is stunning?! And the lighting last night was absolutely brilliant!
Just your average 16th C. tudor house taken from the Erasmus Darwin herb garden
I could probably sit on this bench and stare at this scene for hours...

Still in the Erasmus Darwin home gardens, but looking towards the cathedral.
The courtyard in the middle of some more 16th C. tudor homes... still standing and still being used. Though you can kinda see how terribly uneven the upper levels must be. I wonder if they have to keep all the furniture on the lower side of the room, or if the interior has been rigged to help compensate for the tiltage...

Regardless, I could probably sit at that little table for hours, too...

Inside the cathedral

I didn't really get to see much of the inside of the cathedral, because there was an event going on... so we decided to join in the fun instead! It was a lecture about the so-called 'Staffordshire hoard' of Anglo-Saxon treasure (ca. 650-670 AD) discovered about 5 years ago near Lichfield, given by one of the archaeologists and curators that worked on the project. 

It might sound boring to normal people, but as an archaeologist that has been deprived of pretty much all things archaeology for far too long, it was absolutely riveting! My two areas of focus were Near Eastern and European archaeology, so I've done a fair amount of study on Anglo-Saxon archaeology. But since this hoard was discovered while I was at BYU Jerusalem, and after I'd finished all of my archaeology courses, I don't remember hearing about it, and I certainly never got a chance to study it. 

It was well-presented, and even Sister Mace enjoyed it--which was good because we were there for nearly 2 hours! It took me back to all those years I spent thinking of and planning my life as an archaeologist. I never forget how much I love archaeology... It is such a huge part of who I am, what I love, and how I've ended up where I am today. But since I'm no longer pursuing that course in life, I don't get many chances to relish in my passion for archaeology. It was great to have an opportunity to do just that during and after the lecture. An unexpected ending to a delightful evening!

27 July 2014

Chatsworth House

Yesterday we went on another family outing to Derbyshire to enjoy the sunshine. This time we went to Chatsworth House. Everyone else went swimming in the river, but since I still can't get my ankle wet, I read a book and wrote in my journal.

Before heading home, we drove by the actual house so I could see it... Some of you might recognize it.

Not really sure what this building used to be.
I didn't get to explore it, but the outside was still fun to look at. :)

Everyone 'helping' Ben retrieve the football that was thrown into the creek below

We obviously had a picnic, as you do.
Becky and Bev chillin on the dam
Harriet and Ben deciding how far to go in

The house is the current home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The outside was recently restored to it's present pristine condition, complete with gilded window frames.

Becky taking pictures of me taking pictures facing away from the house...
...But look at the view! Also worth seeing. (in my humble opinion)

Now do you remember why you recognize the house? It was used as Pemberley in the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. Even if you're not a fan of period dramas, you've probably seen that movie. And even if you hated it, you have to admit the house is gorgeous, and so is the landscape!

18 July 2014

Last night I made the mistake of checking BBC before going to bed. That's when I learned that Netanyahu had just ordered the ground invasion of Gaza. It took me a couple hours to be able to fall asleep after that. I just have so many thoughts and feelings on the conflict and these recent developments that I found it difficult to turn my mind off enough to sleep.

I wish I could adequately articulate everything I know and feel on the subject, along with how I've come to know and feel it, into one neat blogpost that could be understood at least by my family and friends. However, this morning I found that one of my professors from Jerusalem, Chad Emmett, already had--and in a way that is much more understandable than I ever could have written it.

You really should read it.

16 July 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad!

This picture is as close to celebrating on your behalf as I could get, but it's worth a 1000 words. ;)
Love you forever and always!

This morning I read a wonderful article about communication. I've been presented with a few situations lately to practice empathy and observe various communication styles in the midst of difficult situations. Though the article mostly focuses on marriage relationships, the principles it teaches are true and applicable to all relationships and interactions with people.

"The goal of listening should not be to acquire information but to gain understanding."

"Being heard is akin to being loved; in fact, being listened to is one of the highest forms of respect and validation."

Definitely something for me to practice and apply, starting immediately.

14 July 2014

Derbyshire Dales

On Saturday, Brother and Sister Mace drove me up to Derbyshire to get me out of the house. If you think back to February, you might remember a family history trip I took up to the Peak District in Derbyshire. We were a bit southwest of there, in the Derbyshire Dales. But still, close enough for me to still consider it family history country. 

And just in case a beautiful drive through the countryside wasn't incredible enough, we had a lovely picnic at Wetton Mill, and then walked around the charming village of Hartington. We also drove through the village of Tissington and the town of Ashbourne, but I was pretty shattered so we didn't get out and walk around either of those.

Two outings and a surgery in three days... exhausted, but loving life!

Another gorgeous day, another gorgeous view. Living the dream! 

Our picnic spot at Wetton Mill

Can you see the cave at the bottom of that cliff?
I didn't take my camera with me to walk around Hartington, but I wish I had. There was a beautiful church and cemetery that we walked around with the most amazing view of the town below it. So here are a few pics I found of the town online.

This was the bench where we rested by the duckless duck pond in the middle of the village square.