It has been far too long since we have written on here and a lot has happened since our last entry. It has been a very busy, intense two months, but things are finally starting to settle down for us. Well, sort of. Our time in Cambridge has just come to an end and now we are spending about a month with our families before we move to Chicago. We are moving to Chicago as Ben will be starting a job at Moody Bible Institute in July which we are beyond excited about. I will be starting my own wedding and event planning business so as you can imagine, I am pretty elated. We are excited, but there is also a lot of change ahead of us.
Before I start looking forward though, I want to reflect on all that has taken place the last few months. Our time in England was such a wonderful, unique time in our lives and I want to share some of the highlights of the last few months. In no particular order, here they are…
1. In April my mom decided to take a last-minute trip and come visit us before we left. It was a whirlwind visit but it was incredible. I wanted to show her everything, so we did from walks to Grantchester (even in the freezing cold wind!!), afternoon drinks with my girlfriends, walking around the colleges, a day trip to London, and afternoon tea, we did it all! We had such a great time and it was wonderful to just enjoy the city I love with my mom.
A couple of days before my mom came she decided that she wanted to also do a short trip to Italy so we spent about four days in Venice toward the end of her stay. It was an amazing trip and we had so much fun together. We laughed so hard my mom was bent over holding her stomach and couldn’t even walk! We kept getting turned around in the canals and we just couldn’t stop giggling. We enjoyed gelato, Italian opera, views from the bell tower, a gondola ride, and of course, tasty Italian food! It was such a memorable trip and I am so glad I got to share it with my mom. The only thing that would have topped it off would have been having my dad, brother, and sister-in-law there!
2. For most of the last year, we had been praying about what to do when our time at Cambridge came to an end. Graciously, the Lord answered our prayers – after teaching us many lessons in patience – and opened some exciting doors for future ministry. Ben couldn’t be more excited to start his job at Moody. Chicago is going to be a wonderful city to move to. We feel incredibly blessed, and we can’t wait to start the next phase of our lives there.
3. We went out with friends to Wimpole Hall one day and it was one of the most relaxing afternoons I have had in months. We sipped on hot chocolate, walked the gardens, escaped a hoard of mangy looking cows, and strolled through fields in the fading sun. It was afternoon of fun as we posed for photos, played on the bridges and hiked to castle ruins. The setting was gorgeous, but it was the people that made the afternoon so wonderful. The Brock family along with Jack, Jess, and David never fail to keep me laughing.
4. One of the things that we have not really shared on our blog has been our desire to start a family. Through our training in natural family planning, we have known ever since we got married that we may have some problems with getting pregnant. When we moved to England we began trying to have a baby, but after two and half years the doctors in the NHS told us that we would not be able to conceive without surgery and in vitro fertilization. No sooner had we received that depressing news than we found out that we were pregnant! That’s the NHS for you (sorry British friends…you know it to be true). We couldn’t wait to tell our families once we returned home, but sadly we lost the baby around 8 weeks and this was devastating for us. We had a very difficult few weeks as we grieved the loss of our baby. Nevertheless, the very fact that we were able to get pregnant has filled us with a hope that one day we will get pregnant and eventually hold a baby in our arms.
5. Another highlight for me was a girls weekend away in the Peak District. Me and 10 of my girlfriends rented a house in a little village named Calver and we had such a great time! It was a weekend filled with great conversations, painting our nails, an afternoon at Chatsworth House (where Pride and Prejudice was filmed), cooking amazing meals together, reading in front of a cozy fire, dancing in the kitchen, playing games, and just enjoying each other’s presence. This weekend came after my miscarriage so it was exactly what I needed in terms of rest, laughter, talking, and great food! I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend or more amazing friends.
6. Our lease ended in late April and so we were in need of a place to stay until we left on the 21st of May, and our Cambridge family came to the rescue! We stayed with five different families during this month and we could not have been more blessed. We were not only given a bed to sleep in, but we were provided meals, rides to and from here and there, a washer to do our laundry, and best of all, quality time with each family. While it could have been a really stressful time, our friends made it a time of real blessing and encouragement.
7. Our last two weeks in Cambridge were amazing. We were showered in love nearly every day. We had two going away parties that were just incredible. The first one was a surprise party where everyone was dressed in Victorian apparel and it was unforgettable! Not only was everyone dressed in Jane Austen style clothing, but they provided us with matching attire! There was a five course dinner to follow complete with menus, candelabras, and place cards with me and Ben’s silhouettes on them. Like I said, it was an unforgetable evening.
We had another going away party that was in the Tyndale garden and this was another memorable evening. The night was filled with all the things we love…burgers, an all chocolate dessert buffet, vases and jars filled with peonies (which is my favorite flower!!), and country music! My favorite part of the night was once the sun went down and we sat around a fire eating smores. It was such a sweet time of everyone just enjoying being together.
Our going away parties were so special, but we had a hundred other ways that we were blessed. We received some of the most incredible gifts and we could not say thank you enough. From gigantic Cadbury bars (and I mean GIGANTIC) to lovely bracelets, an underground sign with messages from our youth to a painting of me and Ben, a book of photos and notes from friends to a slide show of photos of Cambridge with music by Taylor Swift, we could not have felt more blessed. We felt so, so loved these last few weeks and it made it that much harder to leave. Thank you to all our Cambridge friends. When I say that you have been family to us these past few years, I mean that. Leaving you all and this special time in our lives has been very difficult, but we are so thankful for the time we had with each and every one of you.
There are so many more highlights, but I will stop there for now as anyone who has read this far is probably now in need of stretching their legs! Below are some photos from the last few months (sorry for how jumbled they are). More will follow I am sure!!
The whole gang at our surprise going away party…don’t they all look amazing?!
The whole group at Wimpole…even the family dog made it in the photo!
I love the Brock women. 🙂
Me and Lady Roe squeezing each other to death!!
Ben and Jack looking cool with their jackets over their shoulders!
Me and mom having a laughing fit in London
Mom and me posing in Notting Hill
Mom laughing in Venice…how fitting that it was in front of the crazy bar!
Me and mom in the Peterhouse gardens.
Amy…our resident chef for the weekend!
Jackie and Ben posing in their period clothing!
Group photo at Chatsworth!
Brittany and Laura in Mr. Darcy’s garden…so fetching!
Dinner with the girls in the Peak District…so fun!
My beautiful peonies and chocolate desserts!
I love these girls 🙂
The guys playing it cool
Amy LOVING her first smore!
Amy making her first smore