This was supposed to be a post of our last week in Ireland. It was meant to honor the people we’ve spent time with. Those we love in Ireland.
We take care to avoid political discourse, as it has come to mean division, and our goal is to bring people together.
At this time, such discussion is unavoidable, our intended post will have to wait.
We’re in Ireland. We’ve been immersed in an international community here. We’ve made friends or come in contact with people from around the globe. All on this small island in the Atlantic. We have friends, we know people with close familial ties to Ukraine. Hearts are hurting here. The concern is real and it’s intense.
I suspect similar emotions are running high throughout Europe.
Please pray for those whose lives are being up ended. Please pray for peace, for wisdom, for God’s grace.
As mentioned last week, we had been invited by JP, the pastor at Listowel Christian Fellowship, to come Saturday and spend the night and have dinner together. This in itself is such a testament to the work God is doing in establishing us here. On the way, we stopped in Tralee to pick up some fresh flowers for their home. I ducked into a grocery store and Linda informed me she was going to get something at the drugstore across the way. I picked up a bouquet and walked over to the drugstore to find Linda. I couldn’t find her, so I returned to the car to wait. About ten minutes later Linda returned. I told her about not being able to find her. She fessed up and told me that she had walked past the drug store and had found herself about a block past when she realized she had missed the entry to the drug store. We had a good laugh.
We arrived at JP and Fidelma’s home and continued our mutual discovery of each other’s history and mission. JP had kitchen duty and prepared a wonderful roast with all of the fixins’.
Our weekend in Listowel ended on the sweet note of sharing in worship and teaching at Listowel Christian Fellowship. This group is transitioning from Zoom only to meeting in person again. The fellowship is lively and enjoys a weekly opportunity for testimony.
Driving back to Dingle, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and explore a new area for us, Brandon Point. The sun highlighted some of the spring flowers popping up around the county. We find the activity in the sky fascinating. Cloud formations are different around the world. We drove home over Connor Pass. As the passenger, Linda was able to enjoy lovely views of the seashore, catch glimpses of sheep traversing rocky steep fields and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Tom got to navigate the long, twisting, narrow pass. At the top, where the road widens, there is a rest stop perched high enough above the shore that one is able to see the sea on both sides of the peninsula.
We lunched with Michael and Ninfa at one of the hotels in Killarney renown for hosting weddings. Much laughter ensued as we talked about some of Michael’s culinary surprises when he visited the United States. Though we all speak English, there is such surprise in learning how each culture uses some of the same words. He was encouraged to try biscuits and gravy for breakfast. He did, but could not imagine being served cookies with gravy for breakfast. They shared some of their dreams for their church. We felt honored to be part of their conversation.
The Tuesday fellowship group continued their gathering, moving onto “anointing” this week. There were good questions, conversation and encouragement.
Sometime in the night, rain moved into the area. There were a few breaks during the day. Laughter and great conversations filled the air of the alcove where the writers met at the Meadowlands Hotel and pub. The heat from the free standing stove kept everyone cozy on a dreary day. National news advised of worse weather coming late Thursday, and continuing onto Friday. A Red Alert was issued. Many events were cancelled.
Thursday, Linda met with the writers via Zoom. Maire Holmes is back as Writer in Residence again. What a treat for the group!
The wind howled and raged through Thursday night. We’d awaken to rain pelting the windows and doors. Brief reprieves offered calm moments. From the safety of our cottage the sound made me think we were in the middle of a brutal winter snowstorm. But no, it was an Irish winter storm. We enjoyed the safety of our cottage. The weather continued. Slightly abating on Saturday when we took a short drive. The wind and rain returned. Another storm on the heels of the first continued through the weekend.
This was the week Covid caught up with Tom. Seems to be a mild case, doing a lot of reading and taking naps. Perhaps a good week for the weather to be so bad it too limited our activities. Linda has continued to test negative. We’ll have to wait and see how Covid affects the rest of our trip. We appreciate your prayers.
Finding the Way Home, Book 2 of the Rosethorn series by Linda L Flynn.
This is a fictional story and will be available later this year. They say “All good things come to those who wait.” For those of you who read Dream Glasses and have been waiting for the sequel, thank you for your patience.
It’s editing, layout and then final editing time.
In Finding the Way Home, you pick up with Liz returning home from Paris with high expectations for all the future will hold. Before leaving the airport, it becomes obvious the plans she and Eric had set in motion are unravelling. Life happens. Just like to it does to me and you. The messiness of relationships and unresolved family issues threated to undo Liz. Finding the Way Home invites you to shadow Liz as she matures and refines the dreams for her future. Much of this story uses the Colorado Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. In this environment, you will discover the richness of natural beauty and friendships found there.
Visit the Sign Me Up page to be one of the first notified when this book is available.
…arriving back in County Kerry, we started the week at Killarney Methodist Church. On previous trips we connected with the pastor, and learned she was no longer at the church. Due to serious health issues, she returned to her home in Northern Ireland. Please pray for her. We hoped to meet the new pastor, but she was out of town for several weeks. Alas, our plans, not God’s.
We stopped by Living Rock Church after their service and connected with some friends there and had a quick bite to eat. From there, we took a chance and drove to a small studio on the edge of town to check out an artist we’d met on a previous trip to the Isle. (Upon research back at the cottage, it was 2016. Can’t believe it’s been that long!) We’ve tried every trip we are here to see her, but her shop was never open when we stopped by. Sunday, we arrived at the Blue Door and as always, her window was filled with lovely bits of pottery art. There were lights on toward the rear, but the place looked closed. We didn’t see her inside, but Mary saw us looking at the window display. She came to the door to tell us the shop wasn’t open. After speaking a few minutes, she invited us in with the understanding her shop wasn’t set up for customers yet. She was in the creation stages of art. Her work is as exquisite as ever. Mary has a personality to warm hearts. We laughed and chatted about life, her work and common interests for an hour. We’ll be taking home a couple small bits of her art.
And winter in Ireland is everything one would expect of winter on a northern island in the Atlantic. Grey, blistering winds whipping against anything in its path, rain to intensify the grey—all things one thinks about being cold and damp. Burr… It has felt cold.
We’ll say it again. We’re grateful for the warmth of friendship, which abounds in plenty.
Again, it’s been a week of connecting and absorbing more and more about life in Kerry. An afternoon in the home of Chris and Eileen where we shared stories and laughed. Irish history and culture are deeply ingrained in their lives. It is only through time, trust and God’s grace we’ve been accepted, trusted and invited in to enjoy the richness hidden there.
The Tuesday fellowship, with more teaching on prayer and time breaking into pairs and praying one for the other. Good fellowship and worship.
A visit to a leather worker’s shop hidden in the woods along the road to Slea’s Head on the Dingle peninsula was time spent in wonder and delight. The shopkeeper’s humor was delightful. He also took the time to correct some of our pronunciations of local words or names. Again, more history gathered.
An afternoon, or two spent with writers. The group meets around joined tables in a side room of the pub. There they eat, laugh, do readings, encourage and critique. This week an elderly group of three were also having lunch in the same space. The gentleman came over to our tables to tell us they had come to the pub for lunch and wanted to apologize for eavesdropping. They totally enjoyed our stories and he wanted to share one of his own. Leslie invited him to come any Wednesday. Before leaving, they thanked us for making their lunch so enjoyable. There you go—God never wastes anything! We just don’t always see how it will be used.
Tom, connecting again with Michael. We met at Costa in Killarney. Costa started 50 years ago by Italian brothers in the UK. Today it is the Starbucks of Europe with over 4000 locations. It was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2019.
It’s that time where we have logistics to arrange for again. Phone service renewal, car rental renewal, all requirements of daily living. All taken care of again.
Out to a favorite place for pizza with Judy, a friend from the Tuesday fellowship and her daughter. The meal was good, the conversation and laughter even better.
Saturday the sun returned and its bright glow upon the land is welcome indeed. We each did a few projects in the cottage to help our generous landlord and loaded up the car to head out of town for the weekend for an overnight in Listowel.
… was another week of connecting with folks. Scripture is replete with imagery of believers being a family. The last week has born witness to this truth many times. We stand in awe of our God. It is amazing how large and diverse God’s family is, and equally amazing how easily family members connect, breaking down cultural and geographic boundaries. We have been blessed as we’ve worshipped, dined, and chatted with friends around the county and beyond this week.
We spent Sunday with Tralee Baptist Church. We were blessed to witness how this community of believers has bonded together with genuine compassion and care for one-another. The church has a large outreach to the local technical college, with about 1/3 of their congregation coming from the college. This fellowship group meets in a historic site, which was cold when we arrived. The room was not heated yet. The caring for one another filled the room with warmth.
Each week, we connect with the Tuesday Fellowship. They are continuing a study on the power of praying for healings.
We enjoyed lunch with a pastor and his wife (Michael and Ninfa), sharing stories of how God is working in each of our lives. Then we drove to Galway to meet up with a young couple who we met in 2016. They have been missionaries in the Galway area for 10 years. (Chris and Larena) Their heart burns with a passion for the Irish, particularly in Galway, which they now call home. They are stepping into a new adventure as they prepare to plant a new fellowship in downtown Galway. They planned for us to stay with friends of their’s, also in the ministry. (Sean and Julia) They are close to our age. It was a pleasure and blessing to hear their story, to learn how they became pastors, to witness their hearts for the Lord and the Irish. Then they shared more about the country’s faith history and struggles. How I would like to bring them to the United States to help others understand why we answered God’s call to work in Ireland! Being Irish, they have put words to many of the things we’ve simply felt within our spirits.
Our week was full of stories of how God is moving and working, stories of how each is reaching others, and stories of Irish history and culture. It was a powerful week and our hearts were overflowing.
The trip to Galway is a three and half hour drive where the countryside becomes less rugged, the hills more rolling, fields and homes larger and the sky sports blue more frequently. Unless it isn’t! We saw both sides of the weather. The trip home from Galway didn’t provide many photo opportunities. It stormed all day. We did stop by one of our favorite businesses though. A couple runs two operations side by side. She is a baker who specializes in gluten free and dairy free pastries sold in her café and coffee bar. He runs a bean to bar chocolate factory buying raw cacao from South America, roasting the beans and creating a luscious line of chocolate creations. Much of the drive was along the “Wild Atlantic Way,” and it was wild. Looking at the ocean, everything was grey except for the white caps of the waves. You couldn’t tell the difference between the sea and sky. Tom was a trooper doing all the driving. We took the ferry across the Shannon River, grateful to return to our little cottage and shut the weather out.
Time with the writers was rich. We spent an afternoon and then a meal with Judy, discussing possible family connections. We identified many similarities in our histories, but her history records don’t go back as far as ours. Still, we will look. What an afternoon of fun we had talking about Irish culture and telling “Flynn” stories. Laughter bounced off the walls until we drove to town for an early meal.
While in Galway, we also connected with Maire, the “Writer in Residence”, during most of Covid. What rich stories of history. She had many questions about what we do in Kerry. She was interested and encouraging.
We’ve experienced several culinary treats which may creep into dishes we fix. First will be the search for recipes which seem to match what we ate. It is one way we carry Ireland home with us.