Tuesday, December 27

A holly jolly Christmas

I'm back in London and very happy.  This year I had two wonderful Christmases, one in Alabama, the other in England. Here are Dave's photos from the past few days...

Christmas lunch (Taken with Instagram at Randolph)

Reydon Nativity (Taken with instagram)

At Southwold promenade (Taken with instagram)


From top to bottom: wearing a Christmas hat at Christmas lunch; pretty lights and nativity scene in Southwold; me and Dave's brother Richard walking along the coast in Southwold; friends and I outside London's Natural History Museum after ice skating.

Wednesday, December 21

Advent (Days 4-21... oops)

Fireplace, yellow lights, books and blankets, hot apple cider.... mmmm... Christmas.

I'm enjoying being back in Alabama for a few days. I saw two of my best friends and am spending quality time with the family (most of it in a car, driving all over creation).

Totally didn't follow through with the advent images. In case you're curious, here are some more "images of eternity." Click here if you'd like to read the thoughts, Bible verses, etc. accompanying each image.

21 December 2011

I sometimes feel like I catch a glimpse of eternity when I’m at a great party. You know, one of those nights when you’re surrounded by the people you love the most, the DJ is playing perfect dance floor filler tunes, everyone has cut loose, unburdened by cares or anxieties. For that moment, that one delicious moment, you are filled with a sense of pure joy. That, for me, is how I imagine eternity… A really wonderful party full of joy and free from worry. And the best news is that we’ve all been invited. 

20 December 2011

love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
love never ends.  

Catherine O

19 December 2011

There is something so uplifting about the bond that music creates between players. Our music, and our worship is something that will continue for eternity.

They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you,
for your righteous deeds have been revealed”

Dave M

18 December 2011

My Dad and I never got on well. At Sunday School I was taught to imagine God as my Heavenly Father which left me baffled. What I really needed to get a hold of was that God loved me before I was born, he loves me now, and will for eternity.

But You remain the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before You.


17 December 2011

Being still in the mountains is an awesome experience. The massive size and timelessness of the rock all around give an unmissable sense of perspective.  But despite their permanence, the bible reminds us that God reigned before the mountains were created and that his kingdom will last after the new earth replaces this one.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Will G

16 December 2011

I like the reference to this in the marriage service, where the giving and receiving of a ring symbolises an eternal and never-ending covenant made between husband and wife. That covenant reflects the eternal covenant that we are in with God - a covenant of love and grace. His love for us is profound, unmerited, and unfathomable. It is also never-ending. “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100 v 5)”

15 December 2011

And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas: And God saw that it was good.

Eternity will see the melting away of the minutiae of our lives. The niggles, the worries, the stresses will all become a distant memory. And all that is left will be good. As we strive to bring heaven onto the Earth as we have it now, take time to just stand still, think and look. Look at all that God sees in you that he has created. All that Our God would declare good. Take time to stand still and admire God’s incredible creation.

Kate M

14 December 2011

Amidst all the scariness and chaos of the riots, this picture was taken from my roof terrace in Hackney in the summer. There was this incredible sky in the late evening that felt like a glimpse of peace, and a relief from the world around. 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Sarah H

12 December 2011

Life is hectic, cumbersome - full of muscle-aches and bike-breaks, unachievables and limitations, a daily slavery to our human selves. But man can there be beauty, rest, and glimpses of eternity within it. This is the second wedding image of the advent series, this time showing only the hem of a bride. It is eternity from the angle of a bridesmaid, the angle of a Christian living in the mortal fabric of now yet serving an eternal King in preparation for a banquet for which we are making placecards and running erands in our daily devotion through busy streets and stress-filled offices. The day in September I spent as my dear friend’s bridesmaid was one of the best of my life. May this day for you, in the midst of London and all its demands, be a preparation for the festivities of eternity as you witness to a creaking and weary world.
Heidi A

11 December 2011

I took this photo walking along the canal one of those sunny days late in November. 

A friend of mine once said to me that for him becoming a Christian was like moving from a black and white TV to a colour TV. It is like being able to tune in to the true glory of God’s creation. 

It is like that wonderful bit in Corinthians: For now we see only a reflection through a glass darkly; then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.


9 December 2011

“Perhaps in the future, man will go into the arctic, in the same way as in biblical time,  man journeyed into the desert in search of the truth” - Christiane Ritter, Kvinne i Polarnatten
This picture is from north of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, close to the North Pole. I was visiting with my family last year and my dad, Felix Schultze, took this picture. The entire landscape up there is calm in a way I have never seen anywhere else, and the silence is complete. During our travels this vast, stark, yet strikingly beautiful lanscape contrasted so strongly with the busy and stressful everyday life that I experience so often. The intense stillness of this nature, completely untouched, reminded me of another world, unspoiled by humans, and yet to come.
“I am catching glimpses of the last great mystery, and in front of it all, human reasoning will disappear into nothing”.  - Written on a wall, Longyearbyen
Anna S

8 December 2011

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him”

Sunset over the Twelve Apostles, taken from Table Mountain, Cape Town  Sarah P

7 December 2011

This galaxy in this picture is more than 60 million light years away and is over six billion billion miles across. It is thought to be one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. Only in eternity we will be able to fully appreciate the magnitude of God’s glory, from the unbelievably large to the unfathomably small.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8

6 December 2011

This picture was taken after a special service to commission Bee as we sent her off to train for ordination.  I loved standing in church that evening with old friends and new, united in Christ and singing to an unchanging God. Lifting our voices together in praise felt like a glimpse of glory. It made me think of these verses from Revelation and a time that is coming when we will all stand together and sing.

 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
Ruth C

5 December 2011

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 
This is a self-timer photo we took after a scary and exhausting climb out of the Grizzly Bear Lake canyon. I felt like we had achieved something huge. No more fear, no more frustration with each other.  Now we felt exhilaration, joy, awe  - knowing we’d been way down there, remembering how we’d climbed and crawled and sweat our way up together, being speechless at the beauty of it all and just laughing. I remember thinking, “Thank you God” over and over again. Thank you for mountains and lakes, for getting us out safely, for the satisfaction of work, for good friends to live and laugh with. Everything about those moments seemed to belong in God’s kingdom.

I think my favorite two are days 20 & 21... and the lion.

Sunday, December 4

Advent (Days 1-4)

I have an ambitious Christmas to-do list. Ice skating, Christmas cooking baking, carol singing... Yesterday I bought my first live Christmas tree!  It was expensive and a hassle to get home and upright in its stand, so I plan on keeping it through January...

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

My church is doing a fun Advent project called Images of Eternity. Each day of Advent, someone shares an image that they think represents heaven, or eternity, or God's kingdom, or new creation, or whatever you want to call it. It's a neat project because everyone has a different perspective; we've had lots of philosophical (and funny, and argumentative) conversations about what eternity is and how we can experience or capture or create it now.

I'm going to start sharing each image on this blog. You can click on each photo and read any accompanying text on Church on the Corner's Tumblr (we're so trendy).  Here are the first few days:

4th December 2011

Eternity will be not only without limits on time but also on space. There will be no barriers, no closed doors, nowhere we are afraid to tread. The whole recreated world will be before us, and we will follow a well-trodden path into the beauty of the endless love we have been promised.

3rd December 2011

One of the pictures of eternity in the Bible is that of a wedding.
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.Rev. 19:6-7
And at the heart of a wedding are the vows; a statement of intent of how the partners intend to spend the rest of their life.‘I take you,to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’ The vows reflect the nature of this world - there will be both good and bad times and this life will end. In eternity things will be different.  Sorrow will end, and every tear will be wiped away.  Eternity is where the promise we try to make to each other in the context of marriage - to love forever - can actually be fulfilled.  I God take youto be my loved oneto have and to holdfrom this day forwardto love and cherish.Forever.

2nd December 2011

This is my niece one afternoon I was babysitting: totally comfortable, totally relaxed.  I love all the imagery of eternity being like living in God’s home - that it is a place where we are expected and wanted, a place of security, rest and peace.   

‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, 

make me dwell in safety.’ 
Psalm 4.8


1st December 2011

I took this photo in the Makgadikgadi Pan in Botswana, one of the biggest salt pans in the world. The pan is so flat and empty and that you can see the earth curve over the horizon.  Looking up, you see the unbroken dome of the sky: On a moonless night, every star in the Southern hemisphere is visible.

The pan looks devoid of life in the dry season, but just underneath the dry salt surface mud teems with algae.  When the rainy season comes, the pan fills with water; the algae grows; and birds and wildlife migrate from all over the region to eat.  These cycles of migration and growth have taken place for thousands of years.

In this silent, huge place I felt connected to an old universe beyond the cramped details of my own brief life.  I was here with my husband on our honeymoon, celebrating a commitment to a permanent bond - another glimpse of eternity.


Monday, November 28

Breakfast in Bristol

Happy late Thanksgiving!

This is the third consecutive year I've been outside America for Thanksgiving. In 2009, I cooked a big summery meal for thirteen Australians. In 2010, I ate pineapple and chocolate cake on a Guatemalan beach with other volunteers. And this year, I had dinner with two South Africans and two Brits at a yummy Turkish restaurant. Oh, what will two thousand and twelve bring?

This weekend Dave and I were in Bristol visiting some of his university friends. I arrived at two in the afternoon and everyone went out for brunch at Deco Lounge.  I was starving. And when my food came, Dave captured the unflattering but heartfelt love I have for good breakfast. You can see a few more photos on his tumblr.

Late breakfast (Taken with Instagram at The Deco Lounge)

Friday, November 18

Notes from India

A message from my friend travelling in India:

So we hear about this rat temple, where rats are the deity and are celebrated and fed and let to just run around. Awesome, right?! It was the worst thing i've ever done. there were just rats everywhere, crawling across the floor, eating food, crapping everywhere, dying and rotting in corners... it was terrible. why would something like this exist?

Made me laugh and think about joys of travel.

Sunday, November 13

Smart phones

First of all, let me say, getting a cell phone when I first moved to London was a hassle. I ended up choosing a Blackberry because I wanted to use internet and GPS apps as much as I wanted and the Blackberry was cheaper than an iPhone.

I wish someone would have told me that Blackberries suck and that an iPhone is worth the extra money. Or that I didn't need a smart phone at all, that some regular phones have good internet and GPS functions. (Full disclosure: Dave told me this.)

So now I'm stuck with a phone that I pretty much hate (I'm learning to tolerate and work with it... it feels kind of like an arranged marriage). To make matters worse, Dave's company has just GIVEN all their employees brand new iPhones.

I know.

Ridiculous (-ly jealous).

He's starting to use Instagram and all the other super trendy cool photo apps. And since we hang out alot, his life photos are often my life photos. Go to davemasom.tumblr.com to check them out.

You can click on the individual photos to see where in London they were taken... On our way to my roommate Zara's birthday lunch, we noticed this funky interior design shop with a fun name... I love how that photo turned out...

Hope everyone's having a nice weekend!

Thursday, November 10

Thoughts & Ireland photos

So many evenings I'm power walking through London's business district, headed home, bundled up in my trenchcoat and scarf, zig zagging through business suits and shoppers and bicyclists, and my mind is overflowing with thoughts. Questions, goals, guilts, revelations, confessions. And I consider blogging some of them. But I've become self-conscious about saying too much online. Honestly, I've become self-conscious about asserting an opinion in any forum, be it over dinner with friends or at work meetings.

You'd think I would become more confident and articulate as I got older, not less.

Maybe doing it in reverse isn't bad.

To break the blog silence... here are some things on my mind.

(a) Just DO something is one of my current mottos. I get easily overwhelmed and I'm learning that committing to small concrete actions is the only way forward. Taking a job at an investment bank - just do it. Running for 15 minutes - just do it. Reading with kids once a week - just do it. Praying for a couple of minutes - just do it. Calling a family member - just do it.

(b) For the past year, I've been concerned that I'm becoming more frustrated, cynical, demanding, and whiny than I've ever been. A few weeks ago, I had a revelation that maybe this is because historically, things have always come easy for me. And I've continued expecting everything to be easy... work, relationships, happiness, money management, public transportation, writing... No longer! Now, my expectations have changed. Now, I expect most things to be difficult. This way, I always have my game face on. I'm always ready to work hard.

That's the theory, anyway. I sure it's flawed.

(c) Reason #34 working for the investment bank was a good choice: I've volunteered more hours since September than I did in three entire years at college in Auburn.

(d) Most days, I feel like such a sell-out working in a bank... but it helps my sanity to spend time reading with middle schoolers and working on charity projects where everyone looks like a dirty hippie. It reminds me of life outside the corporate world.  Often fellow bankers are working alongside the dirty hippies, and that reminds me that (some) bankers want to save the world, too.

(e) Reason #209 I hate being a grown-up: knowing that you're ordinary and despite your third grade goal, you're not going to become the first female president of the United States of America.

(f) I love reading fiction these days. The last two novels I read were amazing. Read them: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and The Glass Space by Simon Mawer.

Dave and I went to Ireland last weekend. It was pretty sweet. Beautiful blue skies, chilly autumn air, delicious comfort food, good books, seaside rocks and green hills to climb...

A great place to stay in Northern Ireland: Heathfield Farm

It's a great location for exploring major sights; the rooms are lovely and comfortable; the host, Heather, is friendly and has good travel trips; *and* she cooks such tasty breakfasts, which include several kinds of homemade bread (like the hobo that I am, I kept pieces of fruit bread in my pocket for snacking throughout the day).

I love Ireland. You should go there.

On a final note, a big happy birthday to both my parents. And... congratulations on the upcoming move to Italy!  I look forward to "going home" on the weekends...

Monday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

Last Saturday night we went over to our friends' artsy studio apartment for pizza, wine, and board games. Both our friends do professional photography work (you can google Dizzy Finch London) and got these super dramatic shots of us preparing to dig into the pizza (which we ordered by meter... weird).

I intend to provide a more substantial, wordy update soon, but I never know quite what to say anymore!  Photos are much easier. In brief, I'm settling in nicely... having good days, loving autumn and hot drinks and orange leaves and pumpkin-based foods, taking swing dance lessons, having bad days, getting to know people better, going to Ireland this weekend, still missing American deodorant, deepening my knowledge of Blackberries and Excel... 

You know... life.

I hope everyone had a beautiful October :)

Saturday, October 22

Dorset weekend

Last weekend lots of Mountbatten interns spent the weekend in Dorset, a beautiful green, cliffy area on the south coast. We ate and slept at an outdoors activity center. There was a fire pit and a kitchen where I made a cup of tea every 20 minutes because I was never quite warm and plenty of green hills and footpaths to explore.

We hiked (strolled, compared to the Grand Tetons standard... I'm just saying) down to the rocky beach and did some rock climbing. I loved this Dancing Ledge marker. And I discovered that climbing up a rock face scares me while abseiling down a rock face does not.

We went on a scavenger hunt and I used my map-reading and wilderness skills. (Don't stand too close to the cow that's staring at you, etc.)

We also participated in team-building/leadership development activities, all of which reminded me that I (a) don't like team work and (b) zone out as soon as I discover a task requires substantial quantitative or spatial reasoning. However, I did enjoy our morning at a high-ropes course where I reconquered my natural fear of heights several times. That adrenaline, the healthy dose of country air, and my afternoon nap on the return train to London made for a lovely weekend away.

Saturday, October 8

Try new things: pea shoots

Last night my friend Olivia came over. We caught up on the last two years over homemade tomato soup and two (okay, three) loaves of garlic bread. Dave showed up later, and I loved the three of us hanging out together... there's something comforting about sharing a friend who has known both of us since our early 18-year-old days. This morning we made a big breakfast and Olivia and Dave went on their ways.

And I've been alone all day. It's been lovely.

Personality tests tell me I'm a people person, and I am, but I'm a bit of an introvert, too. I love spending a day or two reading, lounging, walking around, cooking, doing whatever I like with no schedule and no one to talk to.

Random question: have you ever heard of pea shoots? Last week I grabbed a bag in Sainsbury's when I couldn't find spinach... these little green leaves are delicious!

Apparently pea shoots are only grown and sold in the UK?  I had no idea. I was curious and googled "pea shoots" and found an adorable green website with lots of interesting pea shooty information...

If you happen upon this green vegetable, try it. Very good on sandwiches.

Tuesday, October 4


October is my favorite month. The temperature's perfect, the leaves are pretty, and the holidays are coming.

That being said, last week was unseasonably warm but absolutely glorious. I left all my jackets at home, read outside during my lunch breaks, ate a late-night, three-course dinner at a delicious outdoor Turkish cafe, watched the sunset behind Tower Bridge, visited Burough Market for the first time and decided to do all my food shopping there always, danced to 50s music at Shake Rattle and Bowl, a diner/bowling alley/dance club in central London, started the Breakfast Club tradition (more on this in a later post) at Elk in the Woods, read in the Islington's community garden, and generally loved feeling warmth on my skin.

Today was gray and blustery again. But that's okay. I'm in the mood for scarves. And I bought loads of fresh tomatoes at Burough's this weekend and am excited to homemake tomato soup... and I found a place to buy pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns... and I found a place to buy fresh Christmas trees!  Mmmm. I love autumn.

From top to bottom: sunny graveyard on the way to work/sunrise view from our flat/sunny walk around Islington/iced tea and jams at Burough's/veggie burger at Burough's/Zara and I in sunshine at Burough's/olives, tomatoes, and pretty brick buildings near Burough's