May 28, 2007

Rees Family Time!

The highlight of our UK trip has been time with Liz, Reesy and the kiddies in Sheffield. In lots of ways, they were the main catalyst for our UK trip and it’s been awesome to have time to catch-up with them.

As we keep saying, developing new friendships in TN takes time, so to have five days with friends that know us well has been wonderful! It felt like just yesterday we were hanging at their house in Kellyville, so it's a bit of a spin-out to be sitting at their home in Sheffield, before going home to our place in Nashville.

F and J have been especially fun to play with and listen to! J wasn’t speaking much when we saw her 6 months ago, so she has become a little lady since then, lots of personality and smiles. And F is as caring and warm as always, sharing his love of Buzz Light Year - "to infinity and beyond!".

I think we’ll just stay… camp out with them... enjoy cheesy toast and Dora on tv.. Will be hard to leave.

Sheffield is really beautiful, typical of the English countryside – full of rolling green hills and small little cottages. One rather large cottage we visited was Chatsworth house (or Chatsworff, if you want to be genuine). It was one of the locations for the latest “Pride and Prejudice” movie, so it was very grand and beautiful. (Mum – I took plenty of pictures and made sure to REALLY enjoy it for you – I know it’s one location you would know particularly well!!).

Aside from that, we’ve simply enjoyed some down-time in the Rees’ lovely place.

(we did do one crazy trip on Saturday back down to London to play a gig. It took us 5 hours to get there in London traffic! But Greg and Judith Prior took good care of us once we arrived, Nath played a great gig and I got to see Kelly again, so we were pretty happy campers. That was until we hoped back in the car at 11:30pm to make the 3 hour journey home to Sheffield. Hmm… Not the smartest idea!)

Christ Church Fulwood (Reesy’s church) was a great way to end our touring in the UK. We visited all three services on Sunday and enjoyed getting to hear Reesy in action and meeting the congregation. It is a fantastic church, full of energy and very welcoming. It felt like the Rees’ have been there longer than 6 months, they fit right in!

On our last day it rained… Normally this would be a downer but not when there are puddles to splash in! We headed to the park, explored, climbed the trees (mostly F) and had some swing time. J is especially gifted at picking the muddiest puddle to jump around in - definitely left us wishing we had gumboots of our own.

It’s wonderful to see how clearly God has directed them to the right place and right church. We can’t wait to visit again. Here's a few more (random) pics from the visit...

Trying out the slippery dip with J

Blog Time!

F & Reesy

Rees’ - thanks for an awesome time… We will miss you guys!

C & Nt.

May 24, 2007

We’ve been to London to visit the Queen!

As we flew into London last Thursday night, it did feel oddly comforting, like visiting an old friend. Although it’s not quite Australia, England is part of the Commonwealth, stocks Vegemite and understands a real cuppa tea!

We had a bit of a mission actually getting here – 2 cancelled flights, an almost missed 3rd flight (made it by 1 minute) and luggage still sitting in Chicago, as we stood at Heathrow watching the carousel go round. ARGH!! So by the time we made it to Amy and Rory’s apartment our mental health was a little fragile.

But Amy has been such a kind and generous host, making it very easy to slot into London life (thanks for having us stay, we had a ball!)

We have done loads of work stuff here (playing, interviews, meeting people) but that's not as fun to talk about - so here's the more social elements of our visit!

Friday was recovery day for us, so we wandered to St Pauls, and Lexington Square and up Oxford Street…

Nate outside St Pauls
And in the evening we headed out to dinner with Amy and Em (unfortunately both Rory and Gav were away, leaving Nath to fend for himself with the ladies). It was awesome to catch-up with old friends and hear about London life compared to Nashvegas...

On Saturday afternoon we bused it to Oxford for an evening gig at St Ebbes. It was a gorgeous day and the gig went really well. Everyone was so enthusiastic and very keen to listen, which made the late bus back into London (at 1:30am!!) totally worth it.

Door at St Ebbes church - built around the 1820's.

The early service on Sunday morning at All Souls was a bit of a struggle to get out of bed for. But Nathan and I have been really encouraged by the Christian communities we're getting to spend time with here and, after waking-up, All Soul's was a real boost for us.

Kelly Cheney is here too! She only moved to London a few weeks ago, so it was such great timing. We grabbed dinner and wandered London for an evening, enjoying the bustle of the city.

Piccadilly Circus

To end our time in London, we joined in with Amy's bible study at St James - where a bunch of small groups meet to eat and learn and pray together. Nath played some tunes and we enjoyed being a normal part of the study time too. Often having to miss our own small group in TN, it was lovely to spend time reading the bible with others, talking through the passage and encouraging one another on the journey. Here's our surrogate group for the night:

Then we were straight to Sheffield... A "Rees" blog to come!
C & Nt.

May 13, 2007

New York City

Although we'd only farewelled Em and Laurel a few days before, it was our turn to visit them (+ Justin!) in NYC. This trip was a little more work than play, but even so - we love this city! And with Spring having arrived we happily soaked-up Manhattan and enjoyed sharing it with good friends.

We were kindly lent a place to stay up on 43rd street east side (actually in a building owned by the Jews for Jesus) so we were in perfect walking distance to a lot of the city that we love to visit.

"Our" place

Nath is a walking MACHINE in this city and I am a blister-making machine, so we weren’t always the happiest little team. But hey, I enjoy the challenge of hopping on one foot when heading out to dinner... :)

The trip included two house concerts at Laurel and Justin’s place, which were both a blessing and a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of their ministry in the city. Both nights felt like we’d created a little safe-haven - while the city of NY buzzed around us, we met as believers to encourage and support one other. Beautiful.

It included a bit of silly business too – late nights are not always the best time for happy snapping…

(Shane - We'll explain another time... Just know we think you're tops!)

Then it was off to New Jersey for a couple of gigs and to explore the place behind the saying “friends don’t let friends live in New Jersey".

The waterfront in Redbank
Could be a fraction harsh to slam New Jersey – after all, Bon Jovi resides there and we paid due respects with a fabulous rendition of “Living On Prayer” as we drove-in. But when Manhattan is a stone’s throw away, we’re not sure NJ is the answer, even with their pizza pies and cooorffee. We were happy to return for two Sunday morning services at Christ Church NY (thanks Jman).

Nath playing a tune
After which we were free to please ourselves! A little bit of Central Park time with the Moffatt’s on Sunday was splendid in the sunny weather.

Turtle Pond...

And then we took ourselves straight to Magnolia Bakery on Monday for a little piece of heaven!

Now you seen them….

Now you don’t! Oh, so good…

NYC, you charmed us once again. We will be back!
Next stop – London, UK.
Love Cass.

May 11, 2007

Em & Laurel to visit!

We've had our first official visitors to Nashville, and I'm proud to say they were charmed by our Southern city! Em and Laurel kicked back to enjoy a slower pace of life from bustling NYC and we were happy that Nashville didn't disappoint.

Cass, Laurel & Em

We didn't do much beyond eating and relaxing on the porch to soak up the warm weather - twas fabulous! (but we did sneak in a visit to the Wild Horse Salon.. hmmm...)

Nate and I were super pleased to have their company. Em & Laurel - thanks for visiting!! We had a blast - laughed so hard it hurt... :)

Love C