or will it not?
or will it not?
What a weekend! It was Tom’s 50th Class Reunion (twice delayed), which sent us heading to Scottsdale, AZ for Memorial Day Weekend. The class reunion was great and provided my hubby with the opportunity to connect with folks from his past, talk about high-school pranks, project cars and hobbies. We enjoyed much laughter and good connection with some of his former classmates. During the video presentations of senior pictures, I realized those students looked like the kids I graduated from high school with 50 years ago. They sure looked young! My guess is they were like the kids I graduated with. They thought they knew much about life, Didn’t we all experience a surprise?
Though the reunion was fun, our accommodations were the highlight of the weekend. We stayed in the house where Tom grew up. A home built in the early 50s, designed by a renowned architect and built by Del Web as one of his first homes before he became famous for building communities. This house was a one of a kind in a unique neighborhood developed by invitation of the owners of Ride ‘n Rock Ranch. This house was the initial build within the area and identified as the Ranch Guest House. The owner never stayed in the home, but used it as a perk for his executives and for tax benefits. A breezeway separated the bedrooms from the main structure, with each bedroom having its own entrance and a private bathroom. Tom’s parents were the second owners of the structure. During their tenure there, they enclosed the breezeway, which resulted in the first bedroom being connected to the main part of the house.
There’s a one lane road leading to the home, which is set back with plantings and trees lining the walkway to the entry. I felt like I was entering an enchanted zone.
The current owners are passionate about the history of the home and understanding changes performed on the property. They have amassed a huge history on the house and the neighborhood.
Tom has told me many stories of the place and his growing up experiences. I have to admit, I struggled to understand the layout or the neighborhood. His stories came to life for me. It felt like I stepped back in time.
We’re home. Landed, unpacked and adjusted to another time change. We’ve had time to process the early months of 2022. It feels good to be home. We returned changed; different from when we left in January. We immersed ourselves in the Irish culture of County Kerry; we reconnected with old friends and made new. Any time one opens themselves to another or something new, they change.
Our return in 2019 and again in 2020 started me thinking I needed to slow down and not rush through life as I was. I had no plan for implementing this change, but recognized it was something I needed. (Enter Covid), which made the change possible. Ha-ha.
The Pandemic left me (Linda), believing God was refining his church. What Ireland revealed to me convinces me of this belief even more. Pastors would tell us they lost some members, they gained some members during Covid. We saw them last in January/February 2020, just prior to the world closing its borders because of Covid. The difference in those congregations/fellowships between 2020 and 2022 was discernable, and so encouraging. People appeared more committed to their faith, and so much more compassionate and committed to their fellow believers. Covid did not surprise God, nor has he stopped working in the hearts of believers around the globe. These communities were more confident in themselves and what they believed. I returned to America with hope in my heart. Hope that we too in America will draw strength from our faith, that we’ll become more committed to the basis of our faith and that we’ll have more compassion for those around us.
When I think of the friendships in County Kerry, my heart is overflowing. I’m grateful for the time I spent with fellow believers, fellow writers, friends of mine.
Between Ireland and home, we spent a week with friends/family in Dorchester, England. It was a time of relaxing, refreshment, and renewed friendship. Sometimes I wish the Atlantic Ocean was not between me and my friends.
There may be more thoughts later, but for now, I’ll just share some of my favorite photos.
Are you looking for a book your kiddos might read?
Look no further.
Gabriel and the Bear may be the answer.
This story provides a peak into a fun outing where a young boy sees his first bear in the wild, and it also offers insight into how to enjoy wildlife and remain safe.
I grew up in the Midwest, in a small town. My exposure to wildlife was limited to the few small critters we’d spot in our yard or visiting a zoo. Books for children painted pictures of animals being our friends, or were stories of cute interactions between children and animals. My eight years of living in the mountains in western Colorado taught me the realities of sharing the land with wild animals. I learned a healthy respect for these creatures. I knew women whose homes had been invaded by bears; whose cars had been demolished by a bear who got inside the vehicle. I witnessed how enormous bears are. There are foolish, unsafe behaviors of tourists seeking selfies of themselves or their children with wildlife that I read about.
Gabriel and the Bear may provide the subtle encouragement to keep your eyes peeled when driving through the countryside. You may spot something and be able to watch a creature of the wild in their natural habitat. The book also has a section dedicated to bear facts. Are you aware of how fast the slow, lumbering black bear can run, or of all the different colors a black bear can be? Learn those truths and others in the book.
Carol Gault, who is an amazing wildlife photographer, has provided the art within the story.
You can find the book on Amazon.com
Until We Meet Again…
Our last week in Ireland was a mixed bag. Covid behind us, weather mixed, last meetings, countryside drives to soak in the unique beauty. Most have been the same drives we’d take on our journeys to connect with friends, but during out last week we’d stop to photograph some of the sights.
Lunch with new friends from this trip, Kirsten and Tim was time filled with laughter, shared interests, allowed Tom the opportunity to talk buildings and construction while Linda and Kirsten talked about creative arts.
The Tuesday fellowship was a study from James on wisdom. Tom taught the study this week and there was an opportunity for much discussion, and interactions. Questions and examples proved how this wisdom is evident. The richness of life experience provided varied instances others had as they witnessed this type of wisdom.
A lunch meeting provided us the opportunity to connect again with Mark and Lona Webb. Missionaries here for over ten years, and friends now since our first trip in 2019. It has been a gift to see how they have flourished since then and through Covid. Later this year will be their first trip back to the US in many years, where they will be making a whirlwind trip across the country to visit with supporters and family. We hope to connect again on “our side of the pond.”
The writing group was smaller, due to many traveling or having other commitments. However, the fellowship was as rich as ever. Covid changed the dynamic of this group. With the first lockdown in 2020, they went online via Zoom, then as the culture opened up, they morphed into two weekly meetings. One in person, and the next day, one on Zoom. So, Linda will continue with these meetings once we’re back home.
Thursday evening was a women’s meeting coordinated and hosted by Living Rock Church. What a fun evening and what a treat to see women from different fellowships groups gather together in friendship, worship and a time of sharing. Linda encouraged the women with some words from Esther on the topic of “For Such a Time as This.” The interactions and camaraderie of the women was evidence of God presence. What a blessing it was to be a witness of this evening. May it be the beginning of more interfaith gatherings in County Kerry. And what a treat, to meet an Irish woman from Killarney, living in Dublin, who also feels the call to minister to and encourage the pastors. Tom and Michael spent the evening together and had one last long conversation.
Friday breakfast with JP and Fidelma was one of those bittersweet moments. A final gathering for this trip, and confirmation of a deeper and growing friendship. Cherished moments.
We squeezed in a performance at Saint John’s Theatre in Listowel, and tea with a fellow writer before making the trek back to Dingle. The sun was in and out, the air was cool and the day beautiful. Daffodils were popping all over, adding simple beauty.
While in Listowel, Linda was introduced to a gentleman who is connected with a writer from the San Diego area. Sometimes the world feels so very small.
Concerns abounded for the Ukraine, and still do. Remember to pray for those trapped in this war, fighting for their homeland and way of life; for those who have family and friends in this environment; for world leaders; for God’s peace and grace. Pray for the people.
Time is such a strange phenomenon. Seven weeks sounded like a long time to be in Ireland, and yet in many ways, it passed too quickly. There were people we hoped to see, or those we hoped to see more frequently but either schedules, work, life or lack of time prevented our connections. Perhaps, next trip.
Ireland is a beautiful country and many will tell you so. But it is the people, the people…who have captivated our hearts. Those people, and the knowledge of how much God loves them and wants to call them to himself keeps pulling us back. We will return. …in His timing.
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.
White horses whipped to a frenzy by the chariot drivers
stir up a storm behind, pulling the dark mass to follow them.
Below, this tumult bends the fronds close to the ground.
Palm trunks sway back and forth while their branches all flay in one direction.
Awakening what in the underworld?
Above hints of blue and light remain,
with few penetrating the dark mass.
Once these chariots pass, white swirls remain against the blue.
Large spots of light again brush the ground.
The fronds gently sway and the palms stand erect and tall.
White snow drops scattered against the green display their finery.
Eagerly, they greet the arrival of regal daffodils.
All indications are of something better than what the chariot drivers bring.
How long will we enjoy the signs of life?
Or are we doomed to the spirits of those savage chariots?
…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.