On My Doorstep...

I have more wedding posts in the offing, but lest you get fed up of me rambling on about the most important event in world history ....okay, in our lives at least .... I shall change the subject for this post.

A couple of months ago, DR and I were driving somewhere outside of the Inverness area, when I made him stop so I could photograph this scene.

I was saying to him that this kind of scene is probably my all-time favourite of all the scenic scenes I see. I do love the actual scene, but I think there’s something more going on inside my heart or my mind when I see this. Yes, it’s beautiful for my eyes to behold, but my heart feels something too. I get something of the satisfaction the farmer must feel when he sees his field at this stage. He has planted, God has watered, and the fruits of the farmer’s labours are to be seen. It’s almost the time of year when he’s going to be able to rest a little. The hard work has paid off, and the results are there to be seen. 

Bales in a field really move me.

And so, how can I not praise God that He has now placed me in a situation where, if I move 100 yds from my door, this is what I see:

And the following photo gives you a flavour of what I have to ‘endure’ on the short 3-mile drive into Inverurie, our nearest town:

And I love this photo too ...

Some people may see a landscape spoilt by man’s modern living. Pylons and windmills, they may say, ruin what could be an idyllic rural scene. But to be honest, I don’t see it that way. Yes, I see the beauty of a rural scene, but in a rather strange way, the evidence of modern blessings enhance the scene for me.

Does that make sense to y’all? It may or may not, but I’m quite used to not being made sense of in many quarters. C’est la vie!

Oh, and in case y'all hadn't noticed ... Scotland is beautiful! East, west, north and south - they all have different scenery, but I can't be the only one to be simply blown away by it.


My Sister ...

There are so many angles from which to come at our recent wedding, but this one is going to concentrate on my sister and me.

A few months back, Marina and I were involved in a radio programme being broadcast on what was, apparently World Sibling Day.

We spoke (and laughed) about what it means to have a sister, and on our similarities in the things that really matter to us – our faith and our families, in particular. We also spoke on some of the (many) differences in us in the things that don’t – to her – matter so much: you know, things like history, and politics, and such like. And on the other hand, things that don’t – to me – matter so much: you know, like fashion, and dress sense and such like.

But we both know, probably at this stage of our lives more than at any other, the preciousness and blessing in having a sister. Seven years of a difference may seem like a fair bit when you’re young; but when you’re our age (of course, Marina is still very young....), seven years seems much less of a gap.

Over the weeks and especially the days leading up to the wedding, I saw more than at any other time of my life, just what it was to have a sister. Apart from the number of times she answered my, ‘What do you think, Marina?’ questions – invaluable, at a time when I had a million questions going around in my head. 

She is so good at saying, depending on the situation:

“oh, that’s a good idea!”
or, “What? That’s a rubbish idea!”
or, “Hmm, let me think about that. Let’s see how that would work”

But simply having her around for moral support, and for very, very necessary light relief was incalculably beneficial for me.

And so, in this tribute-to-Marina and to sisters everywhere, you’ll forgive the load of Marina-and-I photos in this post.

I’m beginning at the morning of the wedding. I had to include this photo of Marina and her beautiful daughter, Iona. 

Marina has her, ‘Erm, excuse me, but who made this tea, and why is it not to my satisfaction?’ expression on her face, while Iona sits so beautifully serene beside her.

We all had the benefit of being together in Inverness all week – Marina and Iona, along with our whole family (and Elissa, Catherine and DR’s American friend, who had the pleasure of meeting Marina and myself for the first time, but Elissa is for another blog post). It was such fun for us all simply being together. We had three days before the actual wedding of coming and going, to-ing and fro-ing, but also of simply chilling, relaxing, and having light-hearted banter. All this time, I was so very aware that this pleasure of simply being together was a luxury. I wanted to savour it, and having Marina there added to the enjoyment so much, not only for me, but for the kids too.

So, back to the wedding morning....

Our good friend, Donald (known as Twin) – who is responsible for taking practically all the photos I can show you – was with us the morning of the wedding. He and Marina were in school together, so they go back a long way. Old friendships are fabulous, don’t you think. Twin’s camera was useful, but his constant source of laughter was truly invaluable.

Here, he’s taken Marina and I outside (I forget why, but he possibly had no logical reason other than to grab a few snaps on his phone), and is trying – successfully – to make us laugh.

The difference between Marina and I is that she is able to laugh elegantly. She keeps her composure and her good looks, while I ... well, you can see how I laugh at Twin’s comments. One day, I shall grow up to be just as mature as Marina.

Or maybe not.

And you know, the relationship between Marina and I doesn’t stop at us two. As the years have gone on, and Iona has grown up and grown to love Catherine and Katie more and more, and our own girls have grown closer and closer to Marina, the extent of our love has widened as well as deepened.

Isn’t it good that Iona has such good role models ....

Yeah. Right.

So many of the memories we made over the past year or two have included Iona as well as Marina. Both Marina and I have noticed more and more over the years that our kids are happiest at events when they’re all there together. It’s a joy for us, and clearly a joy for them too. For myself, I’m a different person when I know Marina is involved with our preparations, and when she’s there by my side.

From 18th birthday parties to 21st birthdays to Hen Days, Iona, as well as Marina, has been part of them all, and she and our girls have grown to be more than simply first cousins. As I said, having a sister has benefits that widen and deepen and begin to include so many more people than just the two of us.

Here’s my dear sister and her long-suffering very fortunate husband. Strangely, although Marina and I are very different in so many ways, we went for very similar fellas, I’d say. We both got great husbands. God was truly good to us both in that regard.

Having the same foundation in our lives makes our relationship more than simply that of genetic sisters. We are sisters in Christ too, a relationship  that will last beyond this life, and transcends even the closest of familial relationships. The combination of the two is so precious.

I also think that being different ...

in our natures – I am so glad for who she is, and her constant ability to make me laugh (especially at myself); I love how easy it is for her to speak of matters of the soul and of what she has recently been reading or hearing of our Saviour, and her enthusiasm when she learns something new

in our interests – I reckon her lack of interest in my ‘pet subjects’ .... you know, things like the American War between the States, or the history of Fascism in Europe, or the progression of a European Union, etc etc, enhances our relationship. In fact, as I write these things, I can see her eyes glaze over and I can feel that look she gives me. It says something like, 'Anne, I know there's a noise coming out of your mouth, but to us normal people, it's nothing more than that: noise. I'm officially zoned out. You are officially boring. I want tea and cake. Zip it."

Isn't that right, Marina?

Despite, and probably because of these differences, I love my sister so very much. And now that we've moved away, I miss her more than I can say. Yes, I know we can be in touch every day - and how I love modern technology for this! but I still miss that I can't just hop in the car and pop in for tea and cake and chat (as long as I keep off my pet subjects, eh, Marina!)

So to all you sisters out there, remember this: y'all are the best thing since sliced bread. 

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