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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everyone Loves the Bluebells...........

Near where I lived in England there are several Bluebell Woods. Ashridge Estate is one of those places.
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This magnificent and varied countryside estate criss-crosses the border between Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, along the main ridge of the Chiltern Hills.
There are 5,000 acres of woodlands, commons and chalk downland supporting a rich variety of wildlife and offering splendid walks.
The focal point is the Bridgewater Monument, erected in 1832 to the Duke of Bridgewater, in recognition of his pioneering canal development.

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Ivinghoe Beacon, at the end of the Ridgeway, has been inhabited from pre-history to the current day. From the top there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, including Whipsnade and the Chiltern Gateway.Be aware that Belted Galloway cattle are now roaming free on Ivinghoe Beacon. They are restricted by the cattle grids on Beacon Road. These animals are not dangerous. How cool is that.

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Go on a bluebell walk and enjoy the scent and sight of woodlands in spring. They are carpeted with blue, it's heaven. There are organized walks in a lot of areas.
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The special lime green of the trees that are just about to open and the blue of the floor of the woods. Just such a wonderful combination. When I was in school there was a saying "Blue and green should never be seen except with a colour in between" Who ever came up with that gem had never walked in a Bluebell woods. Now we are not allowed to pick them. When I grew up there was no such prohibition and I bet that little girls today still take bundles home to mum.
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Enjoy the pictures and dream of a quiet walk.
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I would like to thank the photographers who were able to capture such wonderful pictures.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Good Afternoon.............

It was a beautiful day on Saturday, so good to be out in the fresh air at last. We ... that is, Gerry, me, Laura, Reina and Tristen got in the car and off we went. We headed out towards Empire and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The kids were so excited to be going for a walk. We started out on a walk in the woods at Windy Moraine. Here we go......off into the woods.
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Windy Moraine is a trail that's about a mile and a half, something like that. All up hill for half of it, then down hill for the rest. You can hear the wind howling through the tops of the trees its wonderful. I think Tristen covered 3 times the amount as we did. He ran and ran. Laura and I felt the winters inactivity in our legs. The kids walked right through the snow, of course they did.
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See my garden journal blog for more on the woodlands. After we left the woods, tired out we were. We went to look at the water down at Glen Haven. It was a small lumbering town in the late 1800s, now its taken over by the park. There is a blacksmith there who demonstrates his craft during the summer. The other buildings are kept up and restored one way or other.
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The park service is restoring and has enhanced the parking area, built in ramps and walks to the beach. Its great, but I think I preferred it as it was before. We would take the dogs and let them run, now its not allowed. Things change. Still we are lucky that we can go when no one is around, those dogs are gone now so its not an issue for us. I think we felt that it was ours and now we are apparently the most beautiful place in America, and the tourists come in droves. Not yet though. For now its ours. The snow fences are still up, and snow is still on the beach, but further down a couple is sunbathing. That's Michigan for ya.

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From Glen Haven we went down to Empire. We let the kids play at a small park before heading for the beach. There is a bigger playground there so I got some time on my own to walk on the beach and take these pictures.
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Look at that sand, big pile of the stuff haha.......well I got plenty in my shoes that's for sure.
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This is Empire Bluffs, could not do that trail that day. Legs would certainly not take two hikes in one day and that one is all uphill.
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This is South Bar Lake.

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Deer like the beaches and lakes, no salt. Michigan Unsalted haha
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The kids had a grand time at the playground. Tristen makes friends easy and didn't want to leave. They had fun.

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We promised that we would stop at another park. We wanted to go to eat at the Hayloft and it was rather early so off we went

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I dont know how they had the energy to still be running

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Thirsty work.
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Reina had a cough, not sure if it was a cold or allergies but it didn't stop her having a great day.

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Tristen did not want the day to end, he was devastated when Reina had to go home. They can't imagine that they will have another great day like that, so they didn't want it to end. Next week maybe.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This Land is My Land.............

I am going to join up with Friendship Friday with this post.

I was born and raised in England. In Bedfordshire to be exact, that being about 30 miles north from London. I will always be English, I can never change my nationality. That does not mean I don't like it here in Michigan because I do. I live in a beautiful area on the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan. We have it all. Sand and beaches, shops, arts and crafts, winter sports.........we have vineyards and cherry orchards. We have casino's that put on great shows and an art institute that has great entertainment and concerts.
Ken Scott a brilliant local photographer captures Fishtown perfectly
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We have woods and forests, rivers and streams, dunes and meadows.
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There are great hiking and skiing trails and there is never "nothing to do"
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Waterfalls and beaches, lighthouses and shops.
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I simply love Michigan.
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Michigan is now my home and I am happy here. My heart though, my very soul....will always rest in England. Land of my birth, my heritage, my history, my ancestors. I can never ever give that up. I may never live there again, I made my choices many years ago before I really knew the consequences.
London, always beautiful for me.
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Durdle Door
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Ancient Beech woods
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I could post so many beautiful pictures, but if you visit my blogs you will get to see them. I am always talking about England and share stories of the past.
Meanwhile I will be out and about in Michigan and taking pictures of my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Some Blue for you...............

Today is St George's day........and today I would like to share some pretty Bluebells. I have found some lovely pictures on the web and want to keep them here to enjoy.
St George is the Patron Saint of England and has nothing at all to do with Bluebells. I bet he liked them though if he ever thought about such things.
Its a beautiful thing to drive through the countryside and see the woods just blooming. The blue is brighter than the sky and leaves are just budding so the lime of the buds compliment the blue carpet below.
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I have said before about my Uncle Harold. He and I had much in common, we loved writing poems and we both loved Bluebells. Here is a picture taken in the Isle of White where he lived. Harold and Nellie lived there after they retired and Auntie Nellie got Parkinsons. Harold would care for her and when he got cancer all he worried about was how she would manage when he was gone. Well until he died he wrote to me and would still enjoy a quiet walk into Shanklin through a spinney that would be covered in Bluebells. He would walk to the shops and back as often as he could.

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I love graveyards. A quiet place to reflect and to dream. What could be prettier than a country graveyard with bluebells?
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How I would love to walk through here on a Spring morning.
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I can not think of anything better than walking in an English woodland. Especially in Springtime. God created so much beauty and its good to be out and appreciating it. Listen to the birds as they feed their young and the baby bunnies, deer and other wildlife. Spring, season of renewal. A fresh start.
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I used to gather arm fulls of bluebells and take them home to mum. Alas they do not like to be picked and do not last in water for long. Better to enjoy them growing.

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I have to get some for my garden so that in the Springtime I can enjoy that beautiful blue.
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I am sharing this with a few other blog parties.
Make the scene Monday at Alderberry Hill

Also sharing with Adorned from above with thanks


Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy St Georges Day......

Happy St George's Day.


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St George the Patron Saint of England.
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I hope every English person remembers the day............

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Today (4/23 is St George's Day. It's a story dating back to the 6th century tells that St George rescued a maiden by slaying a fearsome fire-breathing dragon. The Saint's name was shouted as a battle cry by English knights who fought beneath the red-cross banner of St George during the Hundred Years War (1338-1453).

Personal Freedom............you may want to skip this post.

Everyone seems to go on about personal freedom like its a right or something. So much is going on these days, we read in the news about shootings, bombings and terrorists. Its nothing new. So many countries deal with it every day and worse. It's somewhat new here in the States and people want something done about it. What they don't want is to give up what they see as their personal rights, they want something done but for it not to effect them.
I came from a country where no one I knew had a gun, the police didn't carry guns and it was just a non issue. Farmers had shotguns most likely but it was not something we saw that often. They did occasionally go rabbit hunting I do know that. My point is no one saw it as something we needed to protect ourselves from our government or our neighbour. Rather a shock to come here and see the gun culture. I hate it. Its like America never got over the wild wild west days.
Everyone wants a gun and want to be able use it. They feel threatened when someone even suggests that they get a background check in order to buy one. Never mind you need a licence to drive a car, or to get married among other things.
So what is personal freedom.? .......in real life is there really any such thing.? If you have a child then you have no personal freedom, you have to put the need of your child first. If you have family then most people put family first and have to give up some of that freedom. Then again, in todays world that is not necessarily so.
Now people believe that if a pregnancy is not convenient, well they just kill the child and be done with it. Even if the child is about to be born they have they believe the right to terminate. It's not a child? Let them tell themselves that if that's what they have to do to live with themselves. How doctors can take an oath "do no harm" then snip the neck of a child as it begins to come out of the womb I don't know. The mother believes its her personal right and that supersedes the right of the child to live. I would not want to see abortion illegal, I remember when it was but this has gone too far.
I am sick to death of selfish people, people who think that they have the right to personal freedom without consideration for the rights of others. Sometimes the right to live in a safe world, to be safe in school, in the mall, in the theater. Why do they think their right to own a gun is greater than that?
What happened? When did it become necessary to take the law into ones own hands instead of letting police take care of things. When did we stop trusting the police. When did doctors and police loose their ethics and the respect of the public? I know a lot is on the news media but they do not always create the news(I am sure some do)
So what am I saying?.............I personally believe in gun control. I do not believe it is a right to own a gun in any civilized society. It should be a privilege reserved for those who qualify by passing certain criteria. Mental health for one thing. Criminal background checks for another. If people want to play with the big guns join a club and leave the guns and ammo there under lock and key. Hunting needs a licence and I believe that only certain guns should be allowed. Why would you need a semi automatic? certainly not for hunting. Not for protection. Well that's my opinion and I know its certainly not a popular one. Its just how I feel, and I know it works because I have lived in a country like that. I was never afraid of my government, I trusted them. I don't know, its just different there.
England has had its share of terrorism from the IRA among other terrorist groups. People just done freak out and decide they need to have a gun and get them themselves. I am more afraid of the yahoos with guns here than of the government. Its something I just do not understand. How responsible gun owners can support the NRA.
No one wants to take away anyones guns. Where is common sense? I do not vote because I am not a citizen here. What I think does not matter much. I never will be one even though I can never go home to live. I can not in my own conscience ever endorse this way of life. What really pisses me off is how the people and government point at other countries and hold themselves up as an example.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Family..............

When explaining to a fellow blogger about Alexandra (previous post) I realized what a complicated family I have.
I was an only child growing up. My Uncle Alan got divorced and came to live with us for a time. He was the first I ever knew who was divorced. It was a rare thing back then. I only ever knew two other couples who were divorced as I grew up. It was not an easy thing to do.
Well these days, if people bother to marry in the first place it's not always forever. Times they are a changing. Without seeming judgmental I want to say that I have now lived long enough to see why God does not recommend it. Those I know now who have traveled that road have not always done better for themselves or their children. Having said that...........there are and always will be exceptions.
SO......my family.
I had my daughter Laura out of wedlock. A big thing in 1966. My Mother in fact more or less kicked me out. I went to a Mother and Baby home in London and kept my baby. Later I was asked by my Dad to go home and I did.
LauraJane, she married at 18 years old. She married Dan who was in the Marine corps and they eventually had three daughters. Danielle, Alexandra and Gabrielle. They divorced after a time, Marine Corps life not being an easy one when the husband is in a deploying unit. She remarried briefly and again divorced. She is now married to Robert. He came to the marriage with two children, one from a previous marriage Evie and Raylene from another relationship. They also have a child together my fourth granddaughter Reina.
There is no Partridge family in real life.

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(Lauras family. Husband Robert bottom with Raylene. The birthday party for Reina has Danielle, Gabrielle Alexandra and Evie in it. Alex with Laura and Reina and Me and Laura in that set)

This picture is of my 4 granddaughters. Reina, Alexandra,Gabrielle and Danielle

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My son Jason is still single and has no plans as yet to change that. I think his generation are not so quick to jump in as we were.

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My other son Justin married Carrie, she has two daughters from two previous marriages. Justin and Carrie will not be able to have children together due to Carrie's health.
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(Justin's family, wife Carrie and daughter Teal and the older one is Haley)

So that's the basic information on my 3 kids. The rest of the story involves my granddaughters.
When Dan (who raised the 3 girls when he and Laura divorced) left the Marine Corps at the end of his career with them. He came back to Michigan and stayed with my husband and myself while he went to college to become a nurse. We had the room and they were my girls too, so..........it was not popular with Laura at first but in time she came to see the advantages. In the long run it was the best for everyone and I believe everyone now understands that. Dan eventually remarried. He married Debbie who had three kids herself. Cameron, Emily and Lauren.
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That made a blended family of 6 children. That did not always go smoothly, in fact it didn't go well at all for a time. I believe everyone did their best to make it work.
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The above picture shows Dan with Lauren and Cameron who are Debbie's children, Todd Herman is on the end and in front is Debbie, Laura Herman and her daughter Hannah and Debbie's daughter Emily.
Each girl as they became a school leaver ready for college moved in with me, my granddaughters that is. First came Danielle who went to the local college for a time, it was good for her to begin to become independent, she seemed to like being away from home but still safe. She eventually went on to the Upper Peninsula to college. She has since married and is a nurse now.
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Alexandra was next, she moved in while Danielle was still here. Her dad asked me to help with her and to have her live here for awhile. She was never the easy one. She lived with me on and off until her death. She is the Mother of Tristen who has always lived with us.
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Gabrielle came to live with us and when it was time for college she went down state to Ferris. She came back when Alex died and stayed. She stayed until her baby was due. She is now living with her boyfriend Tony who she has known for several years now, and baby Cooper. She does not want to marry just yet.

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So the next generation consists of Tristen and Cooper my two great grandsons..............pictured below
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So now my husband and myself are raising Tristen with Alexandra gone. Dan (Laura's ex) is once more living with us while he sorts his life out again, he and Debbie are getting a divorce it seems. I am hoping they will have some time for reflection and maybe work things out, if not he will be able to stay until he decides what to do. Meanwhile Tristen is enjoying having Grandpa here with us.
Tonight everyone is over at Laura Hermans house, she is Dan's neice and my Laura's bestfriend. She has Tristen for the weekend, he goes every other weekend. Jason came home to spend time with Gabby and take her out for the day. He has always tried to take an interest in Laura's girls and was very close with Alexandra. So Jason and Gabby, Tony and Cooper are going over for a game night. Dan's going over too and so is Laura and Robert and Reina. SO like I said........we are complicated. I love it that we can all get along and be there for Tristen and each other.