Facing Fear and Achieving A Dream

One year ago – October 2016 – I decided I wanted to achieve a dream of mine…

I wanted to run a half marathon.

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I don’t know when I fell in love with running- but I can remember falling in love with fitness around the age of 18, and running just became a part of that.

Normally, that was only a 1 mile run on the treadmill before a workout in the gym. I preferred running over the elliptical because it just felt more ‘free’ to my body.

However, I never did more that 1 mile for awhile… for years actually… until I got a bit older and began outdoor running. I fell in love with outdoor running and started doing 2-3 miles.

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Me and Kutta stretching together (several years ago) after I had completed my morning 2 mile run.

 

I remember there were times I would verbally say “I wish I was a runner- but I just don’t have the body type for it.” I believed I was too ‘curvy’ to run long distances, which I know now is a lie. I just had to train my body- like all things in life that we do – we train, we grow, we achieve.

As I grew in my outdoor runs, I remember at the age of 23-25 being able to run 3 miles, then 3.5- and then finally I got to 4 miles. I was so proud of these runs! They were a huge milestone for me, and became a way for me to de-stress or have some alone time when I lived with roommates.

One year for Christmas, all I wanted was a treadmill- which I got and put in my garage with a huge fan (bc Charleston is sometimes just too hot for me to run in without getting a massive headache). I would set up my laptop in front of the treadmill and watch a 45 minute tv show as I ran… I saw my running time improve so much over those months.

There were periods of my life where I just lacked the time to run- or just wanted to change up my workouts. But I always came back to running. It was what I enjoyed most.

My only problem with running was my knees. When I did more than 3 miles, my knees would kill me the rest of the day- and sometimes I felt like I could barely walk up the stairs. However- I have changed my diet drastically the last few years.

I found my body reacts to gluten, corn, and dairy. Gluten is a big no-go for me, because the reaction is so severe but corn and diary definitely make it hard on my body after I eat them. I didn’t know this back then because they were a constant part of my diet, and I think I lived in a constant state of inflammation in my joints and body- getting sick often and aching all the time. But I just thought it was genetics. However, after altering my diet, I found a lot of healing for my body in those areas.

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Last October I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Simply because it was one of those things I thought I could never do- and I suddenly believed in myself. So I started training.
The funny thing was, I had no half marathon to train for!

So I made a training plan and wanted to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving Day… by myself.

Well… I trained, and found it really intense on my body. I couldn’t follow the training plan exactly- but I did learn how to listen to my body through it. I went through injury and recovery, along with finding what foods fueled my running and what foods hindered it.  I also suffer with scoliosis – so I learned how to take care of my back after a run by always stretching and doing yoga. I also learned the importance of rest, and how much a busy and active life takes it out on my body. Stress also interfered a lot.

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I learned a lot in those months last year- and it lasted from October-January, where I got up to 11 mile runs… but I couldn’t keep up with the time it took to do these long runs, and with no real half marathon to run- I decided to go back to my shorter weekly runs of 3-6 miles. I also started having a few health issues, and I thought it could be due to running too much.

However, as 2017 went on, I found my health issues were not due to running. I had a friend message me, and I don’t know what she said exactly, but it encouraged me to start running and training again- and believing in that dream.
I found a half marathon in October this year, and decided I would start training. If I felt I could get to 10 miles before the date, I would do it.

When I was at 8 mile runs, I signed up… all of a sudden it became real.

With 4 weeks to go before the race, I began to get nervous. Thoughts ran through my mind “What if I can’t do it?”

My right knee suddenly began to hurt after runs, and even give out. I got sick for a bit, but recovered quite fast, however my knee would continue to give out. I looked up supplements and started taking fish oil, glucosamine, eating lots of avocados, and upping my protein with more fish and adding hemp protein powder to my diet. I did find this helped dramatically, along with not wearing heels throughout the week. My knee soon got better- but now the race was just around the corner.

I was able to do 2 ten mile runs before the race; and my last 10 miler was less that two weeks before. It was suppose to be an 11 miler, but I just couldn’t run anymore after 10.4 miles. Because of this I began to get even more nervous about the race- feeling like I just couldn’t do it.

I am so fortunate to have had two girls running the race with me- we didn’t train together, but we encouraged each other a lot. They were always telling me I could do it, and with them fully believing in me, it helped me conquer my doubt.

The week of the race, I could feel the fear rising up in me. I chose not to dwell on the negative ‘what-if’s’ and just knew I would go out there and do my best. I created a new run playlist and watched my diet that week- no alcohol, lots of protein, good fats, and good carbs- no processed food and especially no gluten, corn or dairy (not that everyone should avoid those food- they just don’t do so well for my body). But to be honest, I was terrified inside.

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The days before, I had some unexpected changes to my schedule and became very busy and tired- and I was talking to a friend, expressing how I felt so many things were coming against me in this dream of mine- (my knees giving out, my change in schedule, tiredness and just being a bit afraid)… when my friend then replied “Just don’t do it- you don’t have to you know…” and something inside me just laughed as I responded “No- I do have to! This is my fear that I must conquer- because fulfilling this dream will be worth it!” And it’s as if my response to my friend was actually my spirit rising up inside of me, speaking truth and giving me that final push of – You got this. Go for it.

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The morning of the race, I was actually excited- knowing that there was no turning back.

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7:45AM – RACE DAY

Like so many times in the past-
I chose bravery over fear, because I could feel the calling within my Spirit to be Free. I don’t want fear to set the limits of my own life. I want to live limitless, because that’s what I believe God created us to be.

I caught the tram with my running girls, and we headed to the race. There was a glorious sky just seconds before the race started- reminding me that this was a new day. A day to achieve dreams.

The race was hard. I’m not going to lie. It was fun at the start, but after about three miles in- I could feel it in my body. My stomach started to cramp and it was unusually hot for England. I began getting a headache and was constantly pouring water over my head to cool myself.

Then there was that glorious sight of the finish line- and just before I reached it, I spotted my love there- cheering me on with his camera. In that moment, I felt like a million dollars. I was so happy.

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I’m not the fastest- but I’m faster than SpiderMan!

I crossed the finish line, and slowed to a walk- suddenly realizing- I could barely walk! My legs felt stiff and like Jelly at the same time. But as I looked around I saw all the runners walking in this same funny way- so I knew I was okay.

After I was out of the way I collapsed on the pavement to catch my breath and wrap up with the space blanket they gave me in my winner bag.

I was so happy with my run time as well! I thought I would be a lot slower.

After a brief rest I met up with Shanen and my team, and we headed home. I was on a nice high, even though my body felt like it would crash at any second (which is kinda what I did when I arrived home). But nothing could take away from that feeling of achieving something in my life that was once impossible.

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The End of the Road – The Door of Freedom

I was reading some past blog posts from several years ago. I was looking for some old poems I had written, not knowing if I ever shared them on a blog or not. I went back to a post from 2010 that caught my eye… It’s title: End of the Road.

I remember the day I wrote that post.. the very morning of taking my entire life- knowing one meeting would decide my fate as I handed everything over to God.

I had just been through some very traumatic events- a lot that had happened to me, and a lot that I had done to myself. If there was ever a time of my life where I felt at ‘rock bottom’… this was that time.

I remember hearing the Spirit of God speaking to my heart and saying over and over again- Trust Me.

Back then, I didn’t know anything about visions from God, or what a prophetic gift was. I didn’t know we could hear from God in those ways. Now, it’s become such a part of me, it’s how I flow through life in every day.

I loved reading this post, because I see where even though I didn’t know about visions or how God speaks to us through pictures in our minds- He was still there speaking to me in this way; I just didn’t recognize it was him.

The date of the post was June 2010:

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I love seeing how much a relationship with God can grow us; heal us, and set us free.
I can read this and see a girl who’s heart loved God- I was ready to surrender my whole future to Him because I knew that I wasn’t the one who knew what was best for myself.

I remember that moment- knowing that it looked as if I would have to take that scary path. And I remember the end of that day- the moment I realized that my new beginning would be down the open path, full of light. I knew God was the only one responsible for making that happen.

It truly was a new beginning for me. A beginning that lead even deeper into the spiritual things of God- a relationship between me and my creator that is deeper than any relationship I have on this earth.

What drew my eyes to this post most was the photo of the gate. I choose that photo out of a picture I took in 2008, on a walk through downtown Charleston. The gate and garden spoke so much to me.
And now, this year as my Back to Eden Yoga truly started to grow, I started it with that same picture on Back to Eden’s Facebook page- the same photo of the gate. Back then I had no idea what life would look like for me 7 years later… but I can say it’s better than I could have ever imagined. I have learned that there really is no impossibility when it comes to doing life with the Spirit of God.

And my whole reason for posting this, isn’t just to reflect on that goodness- but to encourage anyone who feels in this same situation- like they are at a dead end in life- realizing they cannot try to control their path on their own any longer- but to let go and trust in your creator, that He will set your paths straight, even when it looks impossible, or makes no sense to the human mind. (Proverbs 3:5)

Scotland- The Cobbler

This past weekend, Shanen and I rented a car and drove up to Scotland for two nights to celebrate our one year anniversary!
Before I write about it, I just need to share this pic of KuttaBear when I told him he was coming with us.
He is so photogenic. 🙂

So Saturday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road!

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Family Vacation!

We drove nearly 6 hours to our little airbnb trailer on one of the lochs, arriving just before sunset so we were able to take in this gorgeous view!

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After enjoying the view, we took Kutta on a little walk.
on the route we found a beautiful forest, and I couldn’t help myself- I had to go explore!

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The entrance into the forest

It was quite muddy, and I completely ruined my slip-on fabric shoes.
I ended up sliding in the mud, and ripping both of them
(they already had big holes in them- they were well loved).

But, it was worth it because within the forest I found a really cool old abandoned house!

I was kinda creeped out, so I waited for Shanen to catch up
before I was brave enough to go in.

Inside it was quite dark- but it would have made an awesome clubhouse!

We spent the evening enjoying leftover curry that we brought (that I had cooked the night before) and watching one of the DVD’s at the airbnb.
My favorite kind of night!

The next morning I had one of my favorite simple breakfast’s of baked sweet potato with 2 TBSP of peanut butter (my peanut butter also has sunflower and pumpkin seeds!)
So simple, so delicious, and so filling!

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I had already eaten half when I took this photo! 😉

 Then we packed our lunches and snacks and drove another hour or so until we got to the mountain we wanted to hike – The Cobbler!

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On the way to our hike!
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Beautiful view from the parking lot

This was our second time trying to hike this mountain.
We came up here in January, but got a late start on the hike.
A few hours into the hike we were about halfway up and it was already sunset!
(The sun sets early in the UK during the winter- like 4pm! I still find this mind-blowing)

This time we planned to start early- but we actually ended up starting around the same time. At least this time it was summer, and the sun sets a lot later!

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Here we go!

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Can you find the hidden heart in this picture?
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“Come on, Mom! Keep up!” – KuttaBear

We stopped a little over halfway for a snack break, and enjoyed
fresh mountain water from a stream…

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Look at that handsome mountain man!
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I love Aldi’s Chocolate Hike bars, paired with a banana! Great fuel to keep me going!
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Water straight from the Earth!

Again, we didn’t make it to the top.
For several reasons, including time, the drive back, getting dinner, and not pushing KuttaBear too much- (the last hour is a steep climb!).
But we made it much further than last time!

We were okay with not making it all the way up- because there is always next time!
I was kinda sad though, because I had carried a big rock with me from the bottom of the mountain, and I was planning on putting it on top of the Cobbler to say “I did it!”
(Like Moana in the Disney film does with her rock)
🙂

But we hiked back down and were very happy we did it!

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We did it!
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Exhausted KuttaBear

After the hike, we picked up a takeaway on the route home, and ate it at the airbnb.
We were so hungry!

The next day we were well- rested, and started the journey home.
It was a short trip, but sometimes that’s all you need to take a break from the routine of life, and have a weekend to be with each other, and be thankful for the time together, and with nature.

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He’s a proper traveling dog now

x

Reflections on a Year of Marriage

Yesterday was me and Shanen’s one year aniversary.

It had us doing a lot of reflecting on life, and the incredible ‘wedding week’ we had a year ago, which started out with a blessing ceremony here in the UK; and then a group of family and friends flying across the ocean, to come together in Charleston, South Carolina- my hometown- to celebrate with us as we were united in marriage.

Me and Shanen never do anything traditionally- and we wanted to make our wedding our own; to us, marriage is about complete unity- and we wanted our wedding day to reflect this. Not just unity for me and him, but unity in all of us there- as people came from 3 different countries, and several other different cultures and states; we wanted the whole day to be a representation and celebration that we are all unified and coming together as one, in the spirit of God- and his incredible love.

For that’s what the day truly was. If it was just me and Shanen, the wedding would not have come together.

We had people cooking, decorating, giving us their home and land for the wedding, and rooms for guests; people filming; singing; playing instruments… people photographing, and doing several behind-the-scenes things to get the day ready and in order. The whole entire wedding was all done in the love and unity from our friends and family, and that’s what made this day so special to us.

It was truly the best day of our lives.

It was amazing having friends and family from the UK and Germany actually be in my beloved hometown, meeting my friends from America. My heart had never been so happy as I looked around and saw the mix of faces; especially when Shanen’s family was first meeting mine.

The week honestly was the most stressful week of my life and had many ups and downs. Poor Shanen even got really badly stung by a jellyfish at my favorite beach! But even of all the stress of trying to coordinate airport pick ups, cars, houses, the to-do list, sight seeing, and our wedding day; Even though it came to be the most stressful week I’ve had, it was also the best week of my life, and I would gladly do it all over again in every way! (Except I would tell Shanen not to go swimming on the day he was stung by the jellyfish!)

The week went by too fast, and it was suddenly our wedding day- it was as if this amazing week was all just to lead up to the best day, being the first day of me and Shanen’s new life together as One.

 

Last night we re-watched the Facebook Live video from that day (We did this so our friends and family overseas or in America that couldn’t be with us could still virtually be with us).

It brought tears to my eyes seeing all my friends and family together again, and even hearing the locus and forest sounds sing around us.

As we remembered the day, and listed to our vows again- I started to reflect on the last year, and how much of an adventure it has been. And how, just like that wedding week, even in the difficult times of this past year, the good times far outweigh the bad, and it has been one of the best years of my life in many ways.

Starting off with the Honeymoon, as we took a road trip back down to Florida to stay one night at Disney, and enjoy the fireworks from our hotel.

Then boarding a cruise ship to the beautiful Bahamas

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Coming back to the UK, and taking weekend hiking trips in England- just thankful to be living together as a married couple, and able to simply do the things we love, and finding adventure wherever we can.

Having date nights in, and watching films on the laptop as we enjoy our home cooked curries. (this is probably one of our most frequent date nights).
I’m so thankful to marry a man who loves garlic and onions in food as much as I do! 🙂

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I had to return to the states for three weeks in December to re-apply for a visa and wait on a decision. That was an intense three weeks- but I was so happy to see my family again, at my most favorite time of the year; along with taking long walks on the beach in the evenings when I needed to clear my head from the worry of not being approved. Those were bittersweet walks.

I made it home to my love for Christmas Day, and my gift was a trip to Leeds to see Cirque Du Soleil (Something I’ve Dreamed of seeing my whole life).

We spent new years in Scotland, hiking, and enjoying the fireworks in Edinburgh.

In March we flew back to the States to go to Disney World with my Family!
Me and my family are HUGE Disney fans… okay not just fans, but we are obsessed. Moana is my spirit princess. My sister Morgan is Ariel. We each have our own Disney Character we relate to- and I’ve always called Shanen my Aladdin. (Ironically I always said I would marry a man who looked like Aladdin- and he really does!)

We got to see the fireworks once again, reminding us of the Honeymoon- but this time we were actually in the park, and able to fully enjoy them!

Below is my parents in Epcots UK, enjoying a Guiness and standing in front of an English Telephone booth! I was trying to pretend they were in England, but the sunshine makes it unconvincing. 😉
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Shanen flew back and I stayed behind to bring the last member of our happy little family back to the UK with us… our beloved KuttaBear! He finally made the big trip across the Atlantic, and we are so happy to have him with us, completing our little family (for now).

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(above – me and kuttabear with jetlag in Amsterdam)

This summer we took Kutta on his first hike in Wales…

…and took some family photo at the top of a mountain.

It’s been an amazing year. These pics of course are our highlights, and next weekend we will be taking another trip together – all three of us – to Scotland to celebrate our one year anniversary.
We ended our first year in an amazing way- by celebrating two good friends here in the UK becoming one. As we dressed up to go to a beautiful wedding, it just reminded us even more of the excitement we each had within us a year ago, as we prepared for our own wedding day.

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But as good as the wedding day was, and as amazing as our of our adventures so far have been- I wouldn’t want to go back… because life is about living, and I know there is an adventure in every day- even if that adventure is just being us in a normal day. I don’t believe in the good ole days- even tho the past does hold good times and great memories- along with great wisdom. I believe in our future and all it holds- because I believe the best is always yet to come.

x

Jeremiah 29:11 (God always has a plan, and hope for our future)

Beach Therapy

My friend Nicci and I planned a beach day for this week, and it was perfect timing. Sometimes you just need a day at the beach to get a little time out of the busy world.

Growing up in Charleston, I really took for granted the beach access I had there. I miss those beach days that started as early as March, and lasted often to mid- October.
But for me, beach time was year round and I often found myself traveling to one of my favorite spots ever winter in South Carolina, to watch the beautiful sunrise.

I love the mountains, and I love the sea, but I will always be a beach girl at heart.

Nicci picked me and Kutta up in the morning and we headed to my favorite beach here called Formby Beach. It’s very rural and reminds me of my favorite beach in Charleston- Folly Beach.

Formby has these beautiful incredible dunes, that are so much fun to explore. Kutta loved them!

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Nicci – Queen of the Dunes

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The beach is much different from Folly, but that is the beauty of this world- no two places are the same. The ocean is very shallow (when you finally make your way down to the shoreline), and it feels impossible to go very deep because it’s such a gradual decent. But, this doesn’t really matter, because I’m not convinced that the beaches of England are made for swimming- the weather doesn’t allow it.

However… my spirit could not go to the beach without going in the water. Even if it was freezing.

…and the good news is, although the forecast said rain- the sun came out when we were there!

But the clouds came again and it just got too cold for a bikini top.
We spent the rest of the day walking and exploring, as Nicci picked up driftwood and I played fetch with KuttaBear.

We ended our day with a picnic lunch in the forest before making our way home. I had packed my usual salad, although it was too big to fit in one container, so I had to split it. Nicci shared her yummy chocolate with me as well!

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While walking in the forest I said to Nicci- “I would love to see a red squirrel. I have never seen one before…” ; literally 2 minutes after saying this, Nicci heard a child mention seeing one, so we rushed over to where they were looking- and sure enough, there sitting in a little bird feeder was a cute little red squirrel!
By the end of the day I had seen 3!

I love the beach… it always brings me so much joy and ends my day with a lot of peace.

A Journey to Wales

Last weekend I took a trip to Wales with some friends from church. This trip was planned for another friend who was getting married in South Wales at the Celtic Manor. Sadly my husband couldn’t take off work, so I had to say goodbye to him and Kuttabear for 3 days while I took the little road trip south.

We made the best of the journey, taking the side roads through the country side, enjoying the beautiful views and stopping at two small villages along the way…

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In one of the villages was this beautiful church (pictured above). I just love old churches, and being able to go inside. The stillness and peace within there was incredible- and the architecture was breathtaking.

After arriving to the hotel, I quickly freshened up and went out to dinner with some friends from church. They had found this lovely Italian restaurant called Yew Tree,  about 20 minutes from where we were staying.

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YEW TREE Italian restaurant pictured on right, across from a beautiful old church

It was so delightful to find they did gluten free options! I ordered salmon (I just love fish) and it was an amazing meal. They even changed the crust on top to a gluten free crust.

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the view from our table at Yew Tree

I don’t sleep very well in the summertime here in England. Being and American, and use to cool air conditioned air in the summer nights, my body finds it hard to cope as it’s slowly getting use to sleeping without it. Also, the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning so the light tends to wake me up, even with my dark sleep mask. All that to say- I hadn’t been getting enough sleep lately…

But that night, I got back to the hotel, turned the AC on as cool as it would go, got out my sleep mask and lavender oil,  and settled in for a much needed good nights sleep.

It was heavenly.

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I bring my own food a lot when I travel – to save money, but also so I can feed my body well. So I brought Quinoa, seeds, and a banana with me to make breakfast in my hotel room.

How did I make Quinoa without a stove? This little trick was amazing…

Using the in room kettle, I boiled water, and poured 1 parts dry quinoa with 2 parts boiling water into my thermos. Left it for 30 minutes while I had my coffee and got ready…
and 30 minutes later, voila- you have cooked quinoa! I then topped it with the sliced banana, and my blend of pumpkin/sunflower seeds.

I finished getting ready, wearing my new dress that I found (literally last minute) at a charity shop (thrift store).

I ran in, 10 minutes before they closed on the day before this trip, needed a dress for the wedding. There was this little dark red dress (one of my fav colors to wear) hanging right near the entrance, original tags still attached (so never even worn)- and only £4!

I dressed it up with black tights and a waist belt I already had at home. I just love it when I find amazing bargains!

The wedding was so beautiful. The church, the people, the food… it was one of my favorite weddings I’ve experienced by far.
What made this wedding so unique, is the families and friends. The groom was Egyptian, the Bride was Bulgarian, and their friends were from all around the world.

There was so much culture and love there.

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delicious, gluten free bread
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Starter of Smoked Salmon

I didn’t get to take photos of the rest of the food, because I ate it all as soon at it came out. There was a 3 course meal at 5, and another buffet meal at 9, followed by dancing all through the night! It was quite an incredible day!

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Bulgarian wedding tradition of bread, salt, and honey

Despite the weather being a bit gloomy, it was actually a very beautiful day temperature wise- which I know blessed the couple very much!

x

A Fresh Start

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Being Camille

I’ve been an active blogger for over 10 years now, blogging about my journey in life- my thoughts, paintings, dreams, and adventures. All of these things being rooted around my belief in God; for his spirit is my source in all I do.

The past 10 years has brought me many places. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, I grew up extremely close to my family and friends there. But my God given heart for adventure has lead me on many travels, and I currently live in Manchester, England with the love of my life, my husband Shanen.

Because of these travels, I have formed deep relationships around the world- my deepest long distance relationships being my family and best friends. My heart misses them so, and as life leads me on across the sea from them, I have found myself extremely busy with my job as an artist and yoga teacher- as well as writing my first book. This has left me little time to blog.

I know my blog inspires many, as I am sent emails and messages on how much they bless the reader- and I am very passionate about blogging. But I realized as this season in my life is bringing many changes, it is time for a change in how and why I blog as well.

This blog has a very simple goal… to keep up with family and friends all over the world.

I realized the need for this when I was emailing my grandparents this past weekend, at the same time I was trying to find the space in my diary to fit in a Skype call with a friend from Germany. While there is nothing like quality one-on-one talks and emails, I really want to spend that precious time finding out how the person is doing and connecting with them personally, and not updating them the whole time on what is new in my life.

So this blog is to simply share my journey. I have many friends who keep up with me via Instagram- I love Instagram and it is by far the best way for me to keep up with what is going on in my friends lives and also for them to be able to see into mine. But I have many friends and (especially) family members who do not have or use Instagram as often as I do. Therefore, this blog of ‘being Camille’ has been born.

I still very much love emailing and connecting with ALL my friends; so please don’t think this blog is a substitute for that. I beg you, keep in touch! I miss every single friend and family member in ways I cannot describe.

This blog is very simply- a place to see and read (in photos and short stories) what is going on in my life, and what me and Shanen are doing in our little life in England.  It is not to replace other connections at all- but in fact, I am hoping it enhances the time I do get to connect everyone via phone, messages, comments, and Skype.

Much love from the land of England,
Sarah Camille x

July Night Sky
The sky from our kitchen window last night