Cheers!

If reading our blog gave you enjoyment, you are invited to click on the link below to read the new blog.  Elliotts Weblog will not disappear, in case any of you want to read about and see how we spent a year of our lives.  But to continue to follow Elliott events, through the eyes of Maria, go to

Noticias por María – Blog

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Can’t bear to not wish everyone a happy day as we prepare to celebrate the annual holiday in the U.S.!

It is a real Thanksgiving for us again, being in our own place and country with family and friends around. Tomorrow, tho’ we will miss our university gals, the five of us will also have Maria’s parents, and many friends from the People of Praise – Sharon, Bob, Eileen, Walt & Pam, and Jim & Margherite with John and Ben.

What a joy to be home again! Yet we can also say how grateful we are that at this time last year, we were safe, sheltered, and fed with our friends from across the pond! God is good and He cares for us wherever we are.

Cheers from John, Maria, and the gang!

Poseidon at Versailles

Poseidon at Versailles

Some statues were bronze, others not

Some statues were bronze, others not

Cathedral at night

Cathedral at night

Welcome to my little getaway...

Welcome to my little getaway...

Sumptuous hall at Versailles

Sumptuous hall at Versailles

Gilt in the Apollo room - Versailles

Gilt in the Apollo room - Versailles

egyptianoffering

Egyptian Offering

Six sphinx at the Louvre

Six sphinx at the Louvre

Louis said, "The upkeep on Versailles is 'murder'!"

Upkeep on Versailles (Louis said it was ‘murder’…)

Marie wanted a little pond out back

Insider the pyramid shaped entrance to the Louve

Statue of Charlemagne in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame

You cannot underestimate how important significant relationships are for your happiness.  When you move, one of the biggest losses is the network of people you leave behind, such as close friends, acquaintances, the cashier at the local grocery, the postal carrier, the tailor you see about twice a year, and other miscellaneous persons you recognize by sight like the teachers at the school your kids attend.   These familiar faces or intimate friends, are the ones that make you light up when they arrive, chuckle with you when times are good, lift you when you are depressed, and generally journey through life with you.   It’s hard to leave the places that are comfortable, but it is altogether demoralizing to leave persons you know and love.

Thus it was that we found ourselves in a new house in a new town in a new district in a new country in a new CONTINENT.  (Not to mention a new driving pattern – that’s the topic of a different and earlier post…)  We didn’t know our way around, didn’t speak the local lingo (the Queen’s English or any other British dialect), and besides didn’t even have someone of whom to ask the simplest directions.  But bereft as we perceived we were, we knew that God was with us and caring for us.  Sure enough, within a short time we began making some friends, mostly local folks and a few other Americans.   These are the people – increasing in number with passing time, who made our stay in the U.K. bearable at first and after awhile, even downright pleasant.  As we prepared to leave, eleven short months after moving there, we were surprised to find that these folks (and yes, a couple of places, too) had found their way into our hearts.

Before Mass at Church of the Immaculate Conception-Stroud

Below are many that we were able to share our time with in Britain.  Due to technical problems with computers, we lost photos  from October through November, 😦 and so some of our companions may not be shown.  However, we loved and were grateful for all who we met and who came to visit and were so much the better for having lived and journeyed with them.  (Click on photo link below to see our companions in the U.K.)

The PeopleWe Met

(We thank you for sharing in the journey as you followed this blog.  While there are no plans for more posts, you never know…  If you happen to be in Virginia or nearby in Washington, D.C., be sure to let us know and come by and visit.  Cheerio!)

We saw many lovely things in England and Europe; however, there is much beauty in Virginia where we live now.   In the season of Autumn when the leaves change colors, our state has some very beautiful foliage.  One of the touristy things to do is take a drive on the Skyline Drive.   Or you can simply drive through the mountains on a variety of routes as we did a couple of weeks ago.

First Baptist Church in the Town of Washington, Virginia

Beautiful yard in Washington, VA

View of fountain and the Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA

Produce stand near Sperryville, VA

"Old Glory" flies proudly in Sperryville, Virginia

John and Maria in Sperryville, VA

View near Thornton Gap, Virginia

View on the way home (near Sperryville, VA)

In the Autumn, our children have been playing soccer for years (yes, for our non-U.S. friends, “football”).  This season, J.T. and Brad both played.  The following are photos of their team in the tournament.

A Trinity Vasity member is in the air

Brad taking control of the ball

A final note, the boxes are decreasing in the Elliott home.  Could the end (of the unpacking) be in sight?

One can always hope.

What a challenge!  This post was in the making since we got to England.  It’s a treatment of the most famously fearful issue of all when you go to Britain, – DRIVING!  So shall we have a go at it?  To start off, let’s say that it is not just driving on the other side of the road that causes panic to well up.  There are ever so many reasons to want to shut out the terror by closing your eyes.  This is a great solution unless you are the driver!

When you first begin learning to drive (not in the U.K.), it is traumatic,tricky, and tense.  But after awhile, you begin to relax; the muscles learn new postions;  reflexes become refined; and the synapses drill the connections in the pathways that create memory patterns in the old gray matter – you L E A R N   T O   D R I V E !

Now move to the U.K. where they drive on the left side – many experience universal feelings of agitation.

“Oh, my ___, that car is coming at us on the wrong side of the road!”

A normal drive in Britain

A normal drive in Britain

And again, “What in heaven!  That isn’t a road, is it; it’s about as wide as a footpath!”

Driving in Dover

The road is as wide as the pavement (sidewalk)

Its really jolly when you try to navigate as you drive along and ask, “Where are the street signs?  What no sign?  Oh, you mean that plank just below the eaves of that building: THAT’S the street name?  RIGHT!”

High Street

High Street

Or the ever popular, “What do you mean I can’t turn right; you have to go left to turn right?  It’s a what?  A roundabout?”

Warning - roundabout ahead

Warning - Roundabout ahead

All of these thoughts go hand in hand with first traffic experiences in Britain or any other U.K. country.  If you never did it, you may wonder if it is that bad.  Crikey, there’s no paralyzing distress quite like it!

Since a picture is better than a 1000 words, it may make you feel “lurgy” if you are able to put yourself in the scene (lurgy = ill).  But never fear, even Maria was able to forge through the process and get it all sorted in her head, eventually.  Most of these crazy car shots were taken by her anyway.  Though not while driving … usually.

Cheerio!  (photo link below)

Driving in the U.K.

We see our parents usually once a week or more and chat by phone – all a great blessing!   Also we are living the life of the People of Praise here in Northern Virginia; last week, we celebrated our 38th anniversary by welcoming three single sisters who made the covenant and answer God’s call to live it out in the context of this community.  It is exciting when something like that happens; the praise and worship that day were so strong, it almost seemed alive and about to take off in flight.  It is good to be home.

John is still hard at work providing for the family.   Other than his day-job, he is always looking for ways to improve the home:  installing / moving light fixtures, choosing carpet to “finish” the carpetting job, plugging leaks in laundry rooms, ordering samples of ceiling tiles for a room with cruddy, old ones, and finding creative ways to discipline [read train] the children.  He belies the thought that transition is an exhausting process by maintaining the momentum around here.

Maria tries to be hard at work, but finds life “back on the ranch” to be hectic.  For her, the transition from U.S. to U.K. and back again felt overwhelming – mostly the “back again” part.   She does feel exhausted a lot, and yet has attempted to keep up with the schedule (did I mention it is hectic?)  In our part of the country,  extra-curriculars occur after school for the most part, involving driving, which in our vicinity is sometimes called “beltway bashing” or “rush hour” both of which are mis-nomers for sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for part of your day.  No way to live, but many of us do.  However, today’s project will be emptying boxes to try to make a dent and move from the plateau we have been on – liveable but still not settled.  She is glad September with the yearly start of school, three family birthdays, and annual women’s retreat, is now history, and soon October will be too.  “Let the unpacking be finished!” is her cry.

Jane is a senior (like Upper 6th form) at her school, and has just this week begun to actually drive on her own.  It was a great moment in our family’s life – when the children can now be driven by one of their own to events.  Extra driving practice is needed in this busy (all right – HECTIC) area of traffic patterns, with nary a roundabout in sight.  [In the U.S., we have the unsightly and restrictive system of traffic lights at major intersections rather than the sensible and practical system of roundabouts as in the U.K.]  She is busy applying to colleges (universities), and working very hard on her substantial curriculi.  Still, she finds time to keep up with her sisters and many friends across six time zones!

J.T. and Brad attend the same school, and they also work very hard in addition to playing soccer (football for the enlightened) and the tournament time is fast approaching.  J.T. just had a week of a flu-like virus, but not swine flu according to the symptoms which were much milder.  Praise God, no one else got the bug.  The boys are very happy to be back in the U.S. with their friends and customary activities although they do miss the ones they made in Britain.

The weather has been up and down, with five days that everyone informed us must be like British weather as it was chilly (40’s) and drizzling or raining 90 % of the time.  We said it was actually better in Britain… 🙂  And it’s usually a lot better in Virginia in the Autumn as well.  This week has been sunnier and seasonable – low 60’s in the day time.

Kristin and Kathryn are doing well in Dinkytown at the U (of Minnesota), “studying hard and making us proud” as we like to say.  Kathryn has a blog too.  It is http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ellio244/3101newsfall09/ She is doing it for coursework, but it is still interesting.  Kristin is delighted to be working hard on her minor studies in music.

If you are new to this blog, be sure to go back through and look at some previous posts.  You can do this by manually moving down (which would be chronologically backwards), or by clicking on one of the groupings to the right such as “Recent Posts,” “Categories,” and “Archives”.

Cheers!