blenheim palace

edited to add - since i’m publishing this pre-prepared post on this historic morning:
when i woke up in the wee hours to feed moses and saw the news, i was surprised, sad, sickened and scared. but no matter my disgust with the results of this election, i know i need to strive to continue to see good and wonder of humanity, and to do my small part - as a profoundly privileged individual - to buoy up those that will likely be acutely affected by this outcome. i am praying for our new president and for this mad, mad – but still incredibly beautiful – world.


on our way back to london from the cotswolds, we stopped by spectacular blenheim palace. our afternoon there was filled with history, palatial grandeur, autumnal beauty, and little spots of christmas cheer (since some holiday decorations had been put up!). winter seemed to make a quick, dramatic entrance on this very saturday. it was quite bitter cold during our walk around the palace grounds, and our visit ended at 4:30pm because it was nearly dark!

we had a really wonderful weekend exploring the english countryside with ian’s parents – blenheim palace was the final icing on the cake!

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^^ obsessed with our matching hats! ^^
^^ moses and grandma trying to stay warm outside the palace’s main entrance! ^^
^^ the grand entry hall - so grand and gorgeous – and festive right now!! ^^
^^ there were modern art installations in each of the state rooms. some other visitors really didn’t like them, but i loved them! the artist’s description of their symbolism was fascinating and they were each so incredibly creative! ^^
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^^ incredible art, old and new. ^^
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^^ how’s this for a beauty and the beast library?! with a little flourish of christmas decoration! ^^
^^ the fall colours on our walk around the grounds were amazing – some hues so vivid they kind of hurt your eyes! ^^
^^ i’m grateful for these wonderful parents-in-law! ^^
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^^ two sets of mamas with their sons! ^^
^^ the lights on the christmas trees were lit up when we left! ^^
^^ and the last light in the sky was lingering as we drove away! ^^

we were able to turn our day tickets at blenheim palace into annual passes (this is something that a lot of sites in england do – we love it!) … and i’m already excited to return several times before next november!

i love england.


  1. oh my, your edit at the top of this post was unexpected and refreshing. thank you, thank you for sharing. i'm bummed but trying to remain hopeful. P.S. Your twinning hats are super cute. :)

  2. Love your note at the top of this post. It's indeed a mad mad world, but it's still beautiful. I do think it's poetic that the weather is rainy and gray here in Seattle, kind of like how I feel on the inside. But, I do with this presidency the best of success - this country deserves that much <3

  3. Forgot to add: the picture of Ian's parents walking away from the sun, with their shadows cascading behind them and the gloriously blue cloud-filled sky above them is dreamy. A frameable picture, in my opinion!

  4. Brava to you for embracing all the values your narrow minded parents preach against. I do not agree with you, but truly admire your courage in being true to yourself in your support of political and human values.

    1. i appreciate your complimentary comment, but i'm not entirely sure what you mean - my parents share the sentiments i expressed here. i would be interested in learning how you perceive that we (you and i and/or my parents and i) disagree.

    2. Anon- its been a really hard 24 hours. On everyone. Underhanded comments like that are the exact opposite of what we need right now. How disappointing.

      Charity- thank you for your added note at the top of the post. Its a great reminder for me today, that as much as I hurt (and it is a DEEP HURT), I'm still incredibly privileged. I'll keep that in mind and be extra cognizant that I allow people to grieve in their own ways this week.

      Also- as a librarian, the books in those photos make me DROOL. So neat!

    3. RHrad - mind your own business.

  5. Hi Charity. If I read correctly, you said you are disgusted with the election results. You and I differ because I am relieved and happy that America did not elect a criminal as president just because she is a woman.

    As far as your parents, from what I've read on their blog and on yours (and your sisters' blogs) - they do not embrace the LGBT lifestyle and do not consider same sex parents with children as the ideal family unit. They also do not approve of women working outside the home (which would include being a president).

    So if they feel the same way about the election that you do, then they are talking out of both sides of their mouths. Can't have it both ways.

    1. re: you and i - makes sense. it wasn't clear from your first comment what exactly we disagreed on.

      re: the beliefs of my family members - can't speak entirely for my parents and sisters, but we are all quite united in our political views. i/we indeed do not consider same sex parents with children as the *ideal* family unit. that does *not* mean i/we believe lgbt individuals deserve *any* less respect. i/we am/are appalled by mr. trump's rhetoric around lgbt people, women, latinos, and muslims.

      what makes you think i/we are against women working outside the home? while my parents have a unique situation with a career path that is inextricably linked to their home life and allows for a lot of flexibility, i've always considered my mother a working mom. my sisters and sister-in-laws have worked "outside the home" in varying capacities, and i intend to return to some type of part-time (and eventually full-time) work. we were all quite excited about the prospect of a female president (even though we certainly don't agree with everything hillary clinton has done or believes).

      i hope that helps clarify a little -- again, i don't want to put words into my family member's mouths, but we share very similar ideologies.

    2. I'm sure she is not aware of all the unethical behavior of Clinton. Global media Is selective. They either don't cover it or they call it a lie. Maybe she thinks a Secretary of State getting tons of foreign donations into her charity isn't a conflict of her office?

      I thought she wanted her little family to have British citizenship at some point?

    3. hi! i'm right here...on my blog! no need to talk about me in third person :)

      my comments here do not condone hillary clinton's behavior - wherever anyone decides it lies on a spectrum of ethics. please don't extrapolate anything from my comments besides exactly what i have said.

      we are indeed looking at uk citizenship (this was our intention before the election).

    4. Of course you should vote as you are a citizen. I hope you did. And you are free to feel any way you like. But why do care so much when you are trying to get citizenship in another country?

    5. because i love my country! and it will always be my home, and most of the people i love most live there. and because i don't know if we will become uk citizens. and because i strongly believe in america and the principles on which it was founded.

      and because this absolutely affects the entire world, not just the usa. and because i care about people who have been bullied and who are less privileged than i.

      i could go on...

    6. I was a little surprised also when I read that you are disgusted with the election results. I understand that Trump is not the ideal man for the position of President of the United States of America. I find him rather arrogant and without tact. However, I found that he does not come close to the level of corruption that Hillary Clinton is guilty of. Not to argue or debate, but I truly have wondered how Christians who claim moral values, can support someone- for instance, who believes in late term abortion, over a candidate who opposes it. I find killing babies to be among the worst of sins. And also, as a rape victim--I have been extremely put off by the facts that Hillary defended a rapist and then laughed about getting him off- and she also harrassed and threatened rape victims. I cannot ignore or rationalize that behavior. She is definitely not the pro-woman person many believe she is. She has also called minorities some pretty vile names. Trump is no saint. He is an adulterer, and I find that awful and will never excuse that--but one thing I think people forget is he is married to an immigrant. He is not opposed to immigration. He is opposed to ILLEGAL immigration. It is actually a sad state of affairs when these are the options America has for their "top leader." But all we can do is move forward with faith and hope for good things to come.

      I believe what anonymous was referring to with the women working outside the home comment-- comes from statements from Pres. Kimball and other prophets who have encouraged women to stay at home and raise their children, rather than work outside the home. The LDS Church used to encourage that very strongly.

      God bless America. Your family is beautiful.

    7. Bill Clinton made that behavior fit for the Oval Office, literally. Do we all remember the DNA on the blue dress? For her to profit off an another man's similar failings in that regard Is just wrong on multiple levels.

    8. Unknown, I don't know Clinton's feelings on this topic, but I can imagine them. I am a lawyer and I once defended a man who had committed a horrible crime. I was sick to my stomach about it and I would never want to meet him in private. But the professional side was different: I believe 100 % in the human rights which include everybody's right to a good defence. So I defended him and I was content with the outcome - as a lawyer.

      That being said, I am very sorry to read you're a rape victim and I sincerely hope that you're healing!!!

  6. I really enjoy following your family. It's nice to see that conservative values don't have to be linked to hatred of other and fear based mongering. Jesus said love the sinner even if you don't agree with the sin. Not build a wall and keep them out. (Not that they are sinners but you get the idea) I'm not mormon but I know that Christianity is about love. This election result is disappointing to anyone who believes in the Christian value of loving others.

  7. I have loved reading your blog for a long time now and it makes my heart happy to read your top item. I love spending time across the pond in London and my heart hurt for our British friends post-Brexit. Now, it is comforting to hear of the global outpourings compassion for our situation here. Sending healing thoughts to our whole world from Washington DC (across the street from the White House, to be specific).

  8. I've never commented before but have read and enjoyed your blog (and those of your family) for years. I was so thankful to see your note, not because I'm all that curious about your political leanings but because today has been a day where it seems those of us who feel the same have quietly sought each other out to commiserate and to commit to hope and prayer for our president-elect and those who will be most impacted by his actions in the years to come. I've been saddened by so many Christians who have backed the anger and hate during this campaign and am delighted to see anyone regardless of religion, race, or nationality who is willing to speak out for love, for peace, for inclusion, etc.. Thank you for being brave enough to speak your mind.

  9. Thank you so much for caring about the rest of the world! I appreciate it. My 13 year old stayed home from school today as he was so distraught about the entire world today and wonders what it will mean for children. We can just stay kind, even if there are disagreements.

  10. Thank you for speaking out. The silence from so many people I respect is almost as terrifying to me as the fact that he won.

  11. I don't want to enter the debate, because I don't think that this is the right place. So all I write is that as a Non-American I am scared, because we don't really know Trump's foreign-policy agenda and because he now has so much power and access to nuclear weapons. I also have to admit, Charity, that I am relieved to read we share political opinions.

    However we don't share the same taste in modern art! It's a pile of clothes. You get to see that in my bedroom every other day!

    1. hi kerstin! you're right - this isn't the place to debate. i've said what i want to say publicly about the election (for now, at least), and as always, i hope that others will not make further assumptions about my opinions or beliefs.

      thanks for your comments.

      but it's not a pile of clothes! it's an incredibly clever statement about homogeneity and diversity. the way the piece is arranged, with the mirror, is a fascinating symbol of our society and how we reflect our own experiences onto the whole.

      sometimes we have to look a bit deeper to appreciate people's various modes of expression :)

    2. Ha, I'm the first to admit that I need to look a bit deeper when it comes to modern art!
      The symbol is interesting, yet I still appreciate the painting behind it so much more. Then again, paintings and sculptures don't touch my heart so much (maybe that's why I don't get modern art). I prefer stories and music.

  12. Perhaps this is not the place for this, but given the nature of the comments that current event, I will say this:

    I do not like Donald Trump and find the man abhorrent. But some of the mourning seen, understandable though it is, seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that there are many people who have been feeling similarly to how the mourners feel today for the last 8 years or more. The world that exists is more expansive than that which many people perceive though their own experience and world view. This election was a referendum on Obama and Clinton, perceived corruption, and political elitism. And like Brexit was actually a pretty even split. Many Americans want to return to a functional constitutional democracy, which when the Constitution is followed, actually does a pretty good job. Too many people seem to have no idea what that even means and at the same time are literally clamoring in the streets displaying the same anger and hate for which they condemn the opposition!

    For those who are scared about Donald Trump's policies, take heart! He was after all a Democrat just a few years ago. Plus if we couldn’t trust him before, why can we trust him now to do the things he said he was going to do? Heck he may not even need to build the wall - his being elected alone may have solved America's immigration problem. Tongue in cheek…sort of.

    I myself am quite nervous about a Trump presidency, but he's unlikely to just go away. He probably doesn’t deserve it, but take the high road. Don’t just bide your time; try actually giving the man a chance at this. See what he is actually going to do. You may like what you see, you may not. If Trump starts enacting things unconstitutionally or putting forth laws with which you disagree, push back via the constitutional process. But don’t become one of the people who hate him for prejudice while at the same time prejudging his projected presidency. Our words become us, but by their fruits ye shall know them. We have yet to see any fruit of a Trump presidency. Prepare for the worst, but have some hope that maybe it won’t be as bad as you fear, especially if cooler heads prevail which generally does not occur with continual riots and early poisoning of the well.

    I am not sure of the outcome if we give Trump a chance. But I am sure of the outcome if we don’t. As the great Tevye once said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will just leave the whole world blind and toothless.

    It is what it is. My biggest fear is not Trump. My biggest fear is that situation in the US and perhaps abroad is now so toxic and with contention that people are not willing to look beyond their own preferences and grievances and give someone else a chance to do some good. This weakens all of us. Maybe Trump doesn’t deserve such a chance and he’s not who I wanted for president either, but the forgiveness or at least temperance has to start somewhere. Obama alluded to this in his comments yesterday. I for one, plan on preparing for the worst, but given that this the hand we’ve been dealt, I hope to make the most of it. Let’s give this thing an honest chance to succeed, however small that chance may be, before we condemn it to certain failure and our own detriment. I am not sure I could have done this 8 years ago for Obama. But if more people had, perhaps it wouldn’t have given us Trump!

    BTW I totally agree with Kerstin about modern art stuff Charity...

    1. i love this comment, and i really agree with what you have said. thank you for articulating a perspective that i have been grappling with articulating over the past 24 hours or so - after he shock fizzled a bit. i am nervous but also very interested in and quite hopeful about what will happen next. indeed, maybe things will be shaken up in some really positive ways.

      but i am much more worried about trump's character than his policies. my disgust at his election is about people's willingness to accept - albeit indirectly - his racism and sexism and bullying, and his seeming unwillingness to repent. in the midst of this stunning result and the changes ahead, i just hope we can be kind, unlike what we have seen of our president elect.

      i dare you to really study modern art like this - examine the symbolism and the thought challenges that this type of art provokes - and get back to me ;)

    2. No joke. He is quite nearly the exact opposite of what I hope my children become. It will be interesting to see, the same way it is interesting to watch a tornado from up close, if he rises up to the office to which he has been elected (i.e. "repents") or drags it down with him. Sometimes major circumstantial change can be a powerful impetus for personal change. Perhaps this will be the same for Trump. I certainly hope so. He does have some good in him. And hopefully in the process he won't end up succumbing to the other vices. It's a tall order for anyone and a bit of a long shot, but it's the best we've got. I intend to pray. A lot. Not just for him, but also for me and that I can find peace within my circumstances however this plays out. I wish the same for all who feel nervous and scared at this turbulent time.

      I'll grant you that L.H.O.O.Q. by Duchamp is okay, but I'm not sure that's considered modern art anymore...

    3. jackalope, you're awesome. thanks for your thoughts.

    4. Also I have to say that I'm not sure it was people being willing to accept Trump as much as it was people really feeling that Clinton was worse. Maybe some combination of the two, but hopefully more the latter, which is kind of sad to say. An unfortunate state of affairs really, but like I said - give it a chance and pray and hope a lot!

  13. I think the world view that says my loving family structure is more *ideal* that your loving family structure is at the source of so much of this pain and divisiveness. "Us" and "them" is an illusion. You might be very surprised when you meet up with HF at the end of mortality and she lets you know that your role on earth was not to call some families "less than ideal." In fact quite the opposite. Mere mortals can only make our best guess so don't sound so sure you are the messenger of gods will Being so certain you, and only your faith, are have the correct understanding is the definition of entitlement. There are many Muslim moms in London. Please make a friend in one today

    1. hi jenny!

      i am sure i will be surprised by some, if not many, things when i meet up with heavenly father and heavenly mother at the end of mortality. but since i definitely don't believe that "calling some families 'less than ideal'" is my role on earth, i don't think he and she will accuse me of that.

      i do happen to have a firm personal conviction that families with both a female mother and male father is central to heavenly father and heavenly mother's plan for all their children. i have gay friends and muslim friends and friends of many different backgrounds that respect that conviction of mine, as i respect their own, sometimes differing, convictions. i hope you can as well.

      i don't believe that god wants us guessing - at least on many foundational truths. i believe he will answer our questions when those answers are what is best for us. i also believe that i have much to learn from every faith.

    2. What?? You just called some loving families less than ideal a few comments up. Direct quote "are all quite united in our political views. i/we indeed do not consider same sex parents with children as the *ideal* family unit."

    3. jenny - considering families with both a female mother and male father as ideal does not mean that i believe calling some families less than ideal to be my "role in life"!

      i appreciate discussion that allows me to critically consider and expand my views, but i really hate it when i feel that words are being put in my mouth; when things i publish are extrapolated into exaggerated assumptions. please seek to understand my point of view before claiming i believe something that i don't.

  14. I'm sorry you felt like I exaggerated or extrapolated. Perhaps "role in life" was not the right phrase to use. The fact is, here on a public forum, you clearly state you do not believe same sex families are ideal. If you don't want to marry a woman don't. Why the publicly stated benefit in how others raise healthy kids? Research clearly shows same sex parents do not have higher probability of atroubled children.

    Also consider the depth of pain your families stance causes your gay (or as you might say with ssa) siblings, nieces, and nephews. Statistically speaking there are probably 4 or 5 in Eyrealm.

  15. A list of families I believe are not *ideal* but would never donate $ to legislate against. If you tithe to the LDS church you have spent lots of money to legislate against same sex parent families:

    Families that space their children less than 24+ months apart (horrible for maternal mental and physical health)

    Couples that marry before the graduate form college and/o establish careers.

    Parents that emphasize celibacy Before marriage and even worst "purity"

    1. jenny - we disagree. and that's ok! i'm happy to hear and consider your opinion but not really interested in spending time and energy debating here.

      all the best to you!

  16. Great pictures, Charity. We love you!


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