Day 26 :: Edinburgh [+ a giveaway!]

on October 26, 2011 in 31 Days of Courage, Giveaways, Scotland with 30 comments by

I’ve known I would live in Edinburgh since May of 2000.

Yep. It took me 11 years to get here.

I left Scotland on May 28, 2000, went back to the US, led a small group, graduated college, taught 5th grade, coached soccer and volleyball, worked at a campus ministry, taught 4th grade, volunteered in a youth group, bought a house, sold a house, wrote a book, and moved to Nashville [not in that order and with a few other things sprinkled in between].

I tell you that to say that courage doesn’t come in a day. It took time between when the dream was placed in my heart and when God made it my reality. It took time and steps and smaller choices.

For example.

The summer after 10th grade, I felt the Lord ask me to change high schools. At the time, it was the hugest sacrifice in the WORLD. I had to leave my friends and go alone to a new high school.

The summer after 12th grade, I moved 80 miles away from home. It was terribly hard. I had to leave my hometown and my family.

The summer of 2008, I moved 200 miles away from home. As you know, it was the best heartbreak of my life. I left my family, my friends, my hometown.

God has given me stair-step opportunities to be brave – moving schools, moving cities in Georgia, moving out of Georgia. So then, when it was time to move out of America, I knew I could do it.

I have seen, over and over and over again, that I can trust God and go in His direction, even when it seems crazy and looks crazy and hurts like crazy.

And now I’m here. Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s a beautiful place to be.

But a lot of days, it is really hard.

I mean, I love it. I really do. I love this city and the people and the church and my friends and the coins and the bus routes. But don’t mistake the fun stories and the amazing ministry opportunities to mean that it has been easy.

I miss home. A lot. I miss my parents and my sisters and my friends. I cry every time I miss a wedding. I’ve gotten frustrated that I can’t watch the Georgia Bulldog games. And I get surprisingly furious in the grocery store when I can’t find an ingredient [exposing issues? Me thinks yes].


In the moments like today – when I’m sitting across the Starbucks table from an American student and talking about faith and courage and living in a foreign country and God- I know it is all worth it.

I wouldn’t dare tell you this season overseas has been easy. It has been fun and exciting and rewarding, but “easy” it is not.

Nevertheless, I am grateful. I am so glad that my courage boundaries were blown to bits. I’m glad for the hard days, where I’ve wanted to scream with frustration or cry or check for a flight home. Those days exposed my fears. And when I see my fears, I’m reminded that I’m brave. Because I see them, I hear them, I acknowledge them, but I don’t listen to or obey them [most of the time].

Edinburgh has taught me that living courageously doesn’t always feel good, but it always feels right.

. . . . .

Krystal at SweetAftonStudio is wanting you to live courageously too. So one lucky reader out there will win one of the 8×10 letterpress prints- your choice of color!

[these are smaller versions… but YOU get an 8×10!]

For the rest of us almost-winners, Krystal is offering 10% off your purchase at SweetAftonStudio – just use the code ANNIEBLOGS2011… and that’s good until October 31! I adore her stuff… I think you will too.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment [with a working email address] and answer this question:

If you could move to any city in the world, where would you go?

You have until I wake up Friday morning [around 8am Scotland time, 3am EDT, 2am CDT, midnight PDT] to enter.

Now, let the parade of cities begin…. πŸ™‚


  1. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM  |  reply

    that’s so easy! i’d move to sorrento. it’s in italy on the amalfi coast. and it’s pure perfection.

  2. Bek
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM  |  reply

    I don’t wanna move! :p I’ve already done my own version of the best heartbreak of my life (FL to Chicago), but if I had to…Denver, CO.

  3. Laura
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM  |  reply

    My heart says Gulu, Uganda. My mind says Santorini, Greece. Maybe I’ll do both… I’m still young-ish.

  4. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM  |  reply

    I lived near Milan for 8 months and as much as I love Italy, I’d choose London! Love, love, love it there. And so easy to get to the rest of Europe.

    Not that New York doesn’t call my name on a regular basis.

  5. flyinjuju
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM  |  reply

    Paris. πŸ™‚

  6. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 12:17 PM  |  reply

    cape town. in a heart beat.

  7. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM  |  reply

    I was born 40 miles down the road and raised right here in this small town. I’ve always thought Italy was a lovely place.

  8. KR
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM  |  reply

    LOVE your blog. Check it every day. I live in Raleigh, NC and I’d move to Boone, NC. In the NC mountains. GORGEOUS. Any time of year. Mountains just scream, “LOOK WHAT GOD DID FOR YOU!!!” to me and I love the reminder. Yes, he did. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I’m getting your book for my 12 year old niece for Christmas!

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 28, 2011 at 7:23 AM  |  reply

      Thanks for your kind words, KR! And guess what? YOU ARE THE WINNER! picked #8 – that’s YOU! πŸ™‚

      Check your email for details on how to get your print!

  9. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 1:33 PM  |  reply

    Thank you for this lovely post-I love how you talk about acknowledging your fears but not obeying them. So beautiful.

    I’ve lived in six states since college…and loved it! It’s been such an adventure. But I tend to dream too much about moving on to another place, another adventure, and what I’m working on now is trying to be as happy as possible right where I am. So, if I could go anywhere…I’d challenge myself to stay right here and seek the happiness that is already around me.

    Thank you for your blog and for sharing how God has called you to Scotland. I think it is so inspiring how you’re following the call and doing good in a way only you can in this world.

  10. Amy
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM  |  reply

    Gosh, girl! Again, I can agree with so much of what you’ve written today-just wish I could say it that well myself! When I look back over the last 5 years, I can see how God was preparing me for this extended time of living in the UK (18 months). It seems to many people that I am living my dream (or maybe theirs!), but that doesn’t mean that it’s all fun & easy. But I really wouldn’t trade it for anything! I must admit, though, I sure would like to see that World Series game tonight! πŸ™‚

  11. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 2:33 PM  |  reply

    living courageously doesn’t always feel good, but it always feels right.

    I needed to read that today. πŸ™‚ In sharing your journey you have encouraged my heart so.

    As for the city…. I would say London. I fell in love with it in 2003 and it is also centrally located so I could go to Ireland, Scotland, France and so on πŸ˜‰

  12. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM  |  reply

    it’s only 47 days before i leave everything i know to move to the other side of the world for a year!
    so excited and so nervous! eek!

  13. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 3:33 PM  |  reply

    Gosh, I don’t know if I have one city I want to live maybe someplace in Switzerland. There’s tons of places I’d like to visit for extended periods of time though!

    I’m LOVING this series. I’m moving across the country this weekend and courage is something I need. Ive lived one town my whole life so leaving that is a little daunting

  14. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 4:26 PM  |  reply

    Gosh, just one city. I’ve always want to live in a lighthouse on some rocky coast. That’s not a city, though. So, just a city, maybe Seattle. Love all that rain.

  15. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM  |  reply

    Thank you for being brave, Annie, because I’m super grateful that you’re in Edinburgh. πŸ™‚
    Annnd hm, I would move to… can I say Edinburgh? Because I really do love it here!

  16. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM  |  reply

    For me, that would be Rome. I felt such a spiritual tug on my heart when we first visited there last year. It would be an honor to dig deeply into the history and physical locations of the early church.

  17. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 6:47 PM  |  reply

    I’d love to move to New York just because it’s so big and exciting but in my heart of hearts I would say Olancho in Honduras because it’s big and exciting in an empty and quiet sort of way. There’s not a lot to distract you from God’s voice there and the people are wonderful. I kinda wish my kids could grow up there…but I doubt the hubby would have anything to do with that. =)

  18. HopeF
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 8:37 PM  |  reply

    I would either live in Edinburgh, Scotland (studied abroad there in the spring, amazing) or in Aigue Mortes, France, a gorgeous little Crusade era town.

  19. Kara
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 9:23 PM  |  reply

    Denver, CO
    I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one choosing Denver πŸ™‚

  20. Emily
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 9:58 PM  |  reply

    I just loved this post, Annie! i think God must really be working on me in the courage department because all your posts are really hitting home. As for cities, what a tough one ….. but I’ve had a fascination with London, of late, so I’ll say there!

  21. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 10:43 PM  |  reply

    it’s amazing to see how His plan comes into action in His own timing.

    as far as a city…ummm, so many choices. seattle is beautiful. i love the though of being in paris or venice. or somewhere in greece…i mean really, how can you pick just one?!?! πŸ˜‰

  22. posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 10:55 PM  |  reply

    Unmm… somewhere in Austria. Mostly because I love The Sound of Music.

    And the part about how we can trust God even when it looks, seems and hurts like crazy? So true. SO. True.

    I’m kinda sad 31 days of courage (at least on the blog) is almost over. Where did the month go?

  23. Melissa
    posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 11:27 PM  |  reply

    Buena Park, CA because then, I could live right next door to one of my dear friends.

  24. posted on Oct 27, 2011 at 12:22 AM  |  reply

    I always used to say Paris because it was my ultimate dream. But God gave me the opportunity to live there for 6 months a few years ago and as much as I’d love to go back in a heartbeat, today I’d say Nashville. Since that’s where I’m moving next, ha! πŸ™‚ Big life goal? I’d love to spend some time in Kigali, Rwanda.

  25. ~VA~
    posted on Oct 27, 2011 at 6:36 AM  |  reply

    I would move to Lakeville, MN…probably lame, but I do best with knowns, and I like that city and it is close enough to where I grew up that I could get wherever I wanted from my favorite places.

  26. Tiffany
    posted on Oct 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM  |  reply

    Seattle. i love it there, and felt incredible peace in my heart when i was there. πŸ™‚

  27. Charise Christianson
    posted on Oct 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM  |  reply

    This was so encouraging for me. I am moving from Southern California to Franklin, TN and I feel like I am moving to a foreign land. Thank you for the reminder that the Lord can always be trusted to lead and guide our lives, even when it hurts.

  28. posted on Oct 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM  |  reply

    catching up on the blog and i’d definitely say south africa. i’ll take most any town. though preferably with mountains and hey even ocean would be lovely.

  29. posted on Oct 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM  |  reply

    There are so many, many places I would live, because I love traveling. So to pick one city is a bit torturous. But – I would pick Prague. That and Munich are the 2 European cities I’ve visited thus far, and I know I would choose Europe, and so far Prague is the most beautiful of the 2. Lots of parks, and green rolling hills… lovely.
    But we’ll see what I say after my European tour next spring – because that’s how I’m being courageous next year! πŸ™‚

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