19 September 2014


Yesterday I went on my first solo adventure post-breakage, and it was glorious! Exhausting, but exhilarating to finally be exploring new places again without needing others to push or drive me around. I'm sure all those who've drawn the short straws over the last 5 months will be just as excited about this as I am. Seriously, this was a BIG DEAL for me.

One of my dearest friends here, who also just happens to be a sister missionary, is in Leicester (pronounced "Lester") which is about an hour east of Brum. For those of you who know this sister, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that she injured her back in a series of ridiculous accidents and currently can't walk very well. So she called me up on Tuesday and asked if I'd be able to come spend the day with her while her companion went on splits with another member. Of course I was all too happy to oblige.

After so many months of needing, it's really nice to be in a position to be needed again. And yet, as it normally goes, I found myself more uplifted, encouraged and loved by this sister than I probably offered to her in the first place. Serving others really is the key to happiness for me, and I've spent far too many months selfishly fretting over my own unknown future and difficult circumstances that I think I've gotten out of the habit of serving others. I realized that needs to change, along with so many other bad habits and weaknesses. But I digress.

I went over to Leicester a couple hours early so I could walk around the city before the sisters picked me up. I went to the city market, St. Martin's Cathedral, the Guildhall, St. Nicholas' Church and the Jewry Wall Museum.
St. Martin's is where the remains of King Richard III will be interred next spring. Because of this, they're making a big faff out of renovating the inside, so there isn't too much to see right now. But the Cathedral Gardens were lovely. :)

The Guildhall

St. Nicholas' Church 
Foundational remains of the Roman Bathhouse in Leicester, which was actually a thriving Roman city during their occupation of Britannia. 
Look at this gorgeous Roman construction. Ok, none of you probably care. But this was my first exploration of any kind of archaeology since I've been here, and I did a lot of research on Roman bathhouses back in the day... so I loved this! 
The 'Jewry Wall', which is believed to be the entrance into the bathhouse from the Roman Forum, which would've been where St. Nicholas' church is now standing in the background. The is one of the largest examples of Roman construction still standing here in the UK, so it's kind of a big deal.

This really happened! So much love for this woman and the sacrifices she continues to make to finish out her mission. Good thing she only has 7 weeks left, because I don't think her body can handle much more! (Remind you of anyone? haha Perhaps that's why we're such good friends. #kindredspirits) 
While my actual explorations were only a couple hours of my afternoon, that was about as much as I could handle, so it was a perfect trial run.

David Austin Rose Gardens

Remember a few months ago when I mentioned my deep longing to go to these rose gardens not too far from Brum? I finally went! And it was a dream come true! (Literally. The last few months I've been having dreams which take place within the rose gardens.)

Last Saturday, Chloe and I took a train to Bloxwich North where her grandmother picked us up and drove us to the gardens. Chloe's aunt and cousin also met up with us there, and we had a wonderful afternoon together. And I'm a little bit in love...
Life is always better when you're in a garden. Add some warm sunshine and a light breeze and you'll be in paradise. That is exactly what it felt like on Saturday. Lovely, delightful, glorious paradise!

And I have the pictures to prove it (I took so many pictures, and it's too hard to choose my favorites, so I've included a little bit of everything).

And if none of those pictures enchanted you into wanting to visit for yourselves, perhaps this gorgeous guy will...

It doesn't take much to charm or enchant me, but a garden is a guaranteed entrance to the centre of my soul. I could've spent all day here, but I'm grateful for the few hours I did have. They were perfect!
I really loved this talk by Sister Holland from the 1987 Ensign. Seriously, it was so good it took me two days to read it because I kept having to stop and ponder some of the things she was saying. I love it when you feel as if the words were meant just for you. Receiving personal revelation is one of the best gifts Heavenly Father gives me.

12 September 2014

3 Already!

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Afro-haired Munchkin!

 I hope to be as cool as you when I grow up!

(But my hair will never be as cool as yours!)

Tía Dana