Dear Reader,

As my lovely and faithful companion—more commonly known as a journal—tells me, it is day nineteen of the journey, and life has settled into a regular rhythm. That is, if you can call daily activities like climbing mountains and exploring dungeons regular. I think it is a lifestyle that I can get used to. Thursday involved an excursion to St. Andrews, a picturesque town by the sea, made famous most recently by the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met at the university there. Some of the highlights included exploring the ruins of the castle and cathedral, walking around one of the oldest golf courses in the world, and stumbling across a man sitting on the beach playing the bagpipes. Today’s excitement consisted of venturing into the rugged highlands for some hiking, a day well spent with breathtaking views, good exercise, and great company.


Being a foreigner takes you on an interesting ride. It’s been neat to experience it with a group of people that are all in the exact same boat, living and navigating life in this new land together. Some of my family can trace its roots to Ireland and Scotland, and I admire their vision and courage as I take on a new life in the lands that they left so many years ago.


Recently, I have been impressed and refreshed by the simplicity of life since leaving America. I have enough possessions to fill a small suitcase and a backpack, a very simple flat with stark white walls, no wifi, and exactly one drawer of space in our refrigerator. Everything is downsized and refocused.  While simplicity is the antithesis of American culture, I find that it’s hard to make a mess out of a life without clutter.  The longer I’m here, the less it makes sense to me why we willingly confuse and complicate our lives by continually adding. That unwarranted stress takes away from the simple gifts we have all around us, like fresh air to breathe, a bed to sleep in, or the delicious warmth of the sun.


Today is the longest day of the year, especially so here at 56 degrees north, where morning comes early and nighttime falls late. The sky is never quite dark; even in the middle of the night there is a faint glow on the horizon that illuminates the earth, something I find wondrous. In the mindset of simplicity, something as common as the light of the sun is enough to make the heart leap for joy. For it is within simplicity that the common becomes miraculous.


The song I will leave you with today is an old favorite in honor of the miracle of light. I hope you enjoy it along with the other common miracles in your life.

Grace and peace,


9 thoughts on “Light

  1. Beautiful Rae!
    I was already singing “Surrounded” to myself before I even got to the link, and then there it was … you sneak!
    And oh, my goodness, the symbolism you interject into your writing is captivating and eye-opening, even for your old dad.
    Love you, Sweetheart!
    ♥ DaD

  2. Ah, Rae! These posts have all been so wonderful! I am so glad that you are having such a memorable trip. I am always incredibly excited when I see that you have a new post! These are beautifully worded, and your pictures are truly fantastic. I miss you here a lot, but I just couldn’t be happier that you are where you are. Continue to enjoy all your new experiences, keep sharing awesome music, and have fun with your interesting classes! Love you, Rae! May God bless and keep you.
    Love always,

  3. Hi Rae,
    Loving all your postings. Grandpa Ted and I watched hot air balloons from our hotel room in St. Petersburg Russia at 11:00 at night with the sun still glowing. It really is amazing to have light at night.! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences and thoughts. Eager to hear about your classes too.
    Love ya’ lots,
    Far Mor

  4. Saint Andrews on the North Sea, of the Kingdom of Fife, Ah my dear, how you awaken the heart of this old man. I am an alumnus of the University of Saint Andrews, College of St. Mary’s, where I studied sixty years ago. I don’t want to hog your comments column, but you are sensitive enough to know that your post had to touch my heart and renew my intense joy wrought by the path you are taking. God bless you.

    1. Alexsi, I had no idea you went to St. Andrews! It was such an amazing place, and I am so glad for the personal connections and memories you have; it is exciting for me to hear from someone who has been touched by this wonderful place they call Scotland.

  5. Dear Rae,
    Another beautiful addition to your journal! Thanks for taking us along. Your entry is insightful (indeed we cannot enjoy the beauty around us with too much “stuff” distracting us). I love your pictures too!
    Hugs from Iowa!
    Aunt Amber

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