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Party time in Edinburgh“Friday night we walked to dinner. Up the stairs we entered a vaulted room – like a church – lit dimly with candles and pink and purple lights in the high, arched ceiling. We had champagne or whisky, then beer and food. Afterwards they cleared the floor and music began on the colorfully lit stage, fast Scottish music complete with an accordion. We danced and laughed and had so much fun. We danced in a circle and I shed my introverted nerves, threw my head back in laughter and danced with all sorts of people as we traded partners going round and round…my husband, our friends, Scottish girls I didn’t know, Scottish boys I didn’t know, and an old man who kept saying “oh! oh!” like he thought he was going to fall over! I haven’t felt like that in, well, ever…”

In Costume, ink doodles

In Costume, ink doodles

This glowing, swirling plunge into Edinburgh led to a carefree journey full of child-like exploration.

We got up early and poked around gardens and churchyards. I scampered up and down the skinny Closes (alleys) between stores. We sat on stone walls listening to bagpipers and we took a late night tour of the spooky underground homes and rooms of the buried Mary King’s Close.

We stuck our heads in the huge cannon Mons Meg on top of Edinburgh Castle, feebly attempted to use some new Scottish phrases with our poor accents, made new friends and shed the skins of our “grown up” responsibilities, at least for a little while.

My Stephen took the opportunities to get in costume, dressing like John Knox in the oldest house in Edinburgh and posing for pictures, and later having a fake sword fight in chain mail with an actor playing Robert the Bruce. He lost this “wee skirmish,” and we couldn’t stop laughing.

I left Edinburgh with full memories of light-hearted fun and games, with lessons and practice in letting go and living life in joy and laughter.

Edinburgh, colored pencil & ink doodle

Edinburgh, colored pencil & ink doodle

"In flight", colored pencil & ink doodle

“In flight”, colored pencil & ink doodle

“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” -Frances E. Willard

A week out from a transforming experience, I’ve recovered from jet lag, spent time with my kids, sorted out things missed at work, uploaded photos, and let the adventures rest in my mind. Two weeks in Europe, touring, learning and changing, with a group of 30, thanks to the generosity of family, travels never cease to change a life. In order to cement memories, absorb lessons into my life, and recount my journey through words and art, I’m sharing my daily doodles, journal excerpts and reflections in small bites over the next few weeks.

As with all great journeys, mine starts with leaving one place to go to another.

Equipped with lots of hugs and kisses from my kids, a packed bag, and a tidy stack of traveling art supplies, we headed to the airport in Atlanta, headed for Germany. Ready to experience and discover, always growing and seeking to move forward, reforming and becoming better in order to do my part to better the world.

June 16, 2014

“With the roar of the jet engine ringing in my ear, and the bright sun streaming in through the oval window, we zoom above the puffy clouds towards Germany. Sitting by the window, looking down on the patches of trees, snake-like streets and glimmering drops of lakes, our journey begins.

The engine drowns out the sounds of the mother in front of me. It muffles the conversation of the parts seller who builds his own motorcycles. It blankets the woman clutching her rosary in an unknown fear or grief. It lights the spirit of adventure that makes my heart skip, taking us high from the ground and letting us soar through the blue sky to new places, new people, new experiences. 

Below us, a mountain range of clouds, a landscape made of cotton…

A ribbon of rainbow streaked across the sky as the sun begins to set over the wide ocean.

Dozing in and out of a quickly passing night and into morning, I look down to see the sun rising like a jewel on a blanket of ripples like sheep’s wool. Clouds like an ocean of foam blanketing the sea.”

Germany, ink doodles

Trip Journal

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

We recently returned from a wonderful vacation to Savannah, Georgia. We stayed with my sweet sister, brother-in-law and my tiny niece and nephew. Here are some quick thoughts, paintings and photographs from a beautiful trip:

The Marsh, 4x4 watercolor pencil

The Marsh, 4×4 watercolor pencil

Thursday afternoon, June 27
Off on our trip, driving down I-20 packed in the jeep. Kids in a tight row behind me. Ready to throw off worries, enjoy life together, feel the free air of the coast. Listening to Cake and smiling at my husband. Enjoying the forward motion of escape.

Friday, June 28
Slow morning with kids and coffee, then off to the beach. An hour of sand pelting, hair flying, blowing wind & waves; guarding baby with a skim board, found relief in a tidal pool. Ended day around the table, warm meal with family & laughs.

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