2020 – I join with friends around the globe to say “Adieu” Your stories will be told for years to come No need for more …and now I direct my gaze forward
2021 – enter Open our eyes to see fresh things Teach us to see beauty in the little as well as the grand Remind us there is nothing new under the sun And that peace comes through faith Let that faith grow in our lives As we recognize all of mankind is suffering We make a difference one step at a time Give us courage to take those individual steps
Welcome 2021 The world is ready for a change How about you?
I’ve written earlier how Covid-19 has helped me establish some better writing habits, and it has. Yet the last two weeks provided some interesting self-learning opportunities for me. We traveled to California (via car), to spend time with family. This hasn’t been a trip for sight-seeing, but has allowed us to connect with some family members while staying in one location. A location different from our house. Everyone here has their normal activities, as do we.
Yet the environment differs vastly from home. The sights, the temperatures, the plants—I’ve found all these differences sparked additional creativity for me.
In the past, I’ve found traveling ignites creativity, or time appreciating natural beauty, or enjoying another’s art creations. Just spending quiet, uninterrupted time in a different environment from home provided an unexpected burst.
This gift of creative energy was a surprise, a very pleasant surprise.
A daughter commented that she’s heard other writers say that’s the reason they enjoy going to a retreat. I’d always thought one went on a writing retreat to remove one’s self from their routine and have more time. So like me to consider “time” as the limiting commodity. …and so, incorrect! I’ve enjoyed this “writing retreat” to work on multiple projects.
Yesterday was a beautiful morning, so we drove to town, stopped at our favorite coffee shop for take-n-go drinks and took off.
Took off for a drive up a nearby mountain pass. The spring melt has the rivers flowing at near peak capacity.
The morning air, fresh and cool, offers the fragrance of spring. One could smell the earth, the heat generating from the rocks and the moisture in the shade under the trees. The sound of the water racing downhill, roaring over rock walls, splash landing at the base before flowing into the river filled the air. In one location, the cool spray carried gently by the breeze, brushed against my face.
In another location, we sat nearby and absorbed the sensations of being by water, out in nature.
Honestly, at one site, I got dizzy sitting there. We were in the truck, parked close to the river’s edge. The sights and sounds were relaxing, refreshing yet simultaneously invigorating. As I sat and watched the water, I got the sense the vehicle was moving. It wasn’t. Yet the water was so intense, so fast and so mesmerizing, I lost track of everything else.
Perhaps these photos will take you to these places also…
The sun comes up; the sun goes down. Another day, another night. So we count time.
Time has stopped, or so it seems to me. I cook, I read, I write. I do creative things. I connect with others.
The calendar says it is April. Really? Did the sun rise and set so many times?
There is no rush. No rush to fix or finish dinner. No rush to get somewhere on time. No rush to finish projects, just gradually work on them.
The sun comes up Prepare morning drinks and luxuriate as my husband and I sit and chat. Enjoy the morning sky with clouds drifting by. Notice the few neighbors out walking their dogs. Listen to the ever growing population of birds arriving for the season. Open patio doors to breathe in the cool, fresh morning mountain air.
Another cup of tea. Snuggle into a chair by the window, and allow the sun to warm the body. Get lost in the day with either a book, writing, or communicating with a friend who is also sheltered in her house. Or spend some time on one of those creative endeavors.
Fix dinner and enjoy the quiet of the night. The sun goes down. Followed by peaceful sleep.
During this time of “Sheltering In-Place,” I’m part of a writing group. The group is writing about this time, fears, feelings, concerns. Different prompts and readings are used to generate inspiration. Sometimes I’m surprised at what surfaces. None of us in the group have experienced a time such as this. I’ll be sharing some of my writings generated from the group. You'll find them under the menu option, Writing Categories and then Pandemic. Feel free to leave your comments or write you own thoughts.
This is a special summer. The apricot trees are heavy laden with their golden orange fruit. Because this fruit tree is one the first to bloom, at our elevation if there’s a late spring freeze, the trees lose their blossoms and develop no fruit. I was down to only one jar of jam. We have a bumper crop in the valley this year. Thanks to the generosity of a nearby friend, I’ve been making apricot jam and syrup. Yum!
We returned home to Colorado in early June. Since that time, we’ve been connecting with old friends and family. Anyone who has spent a large chunk of time out of the country may relate to the re-adjustment time when returning to your homeland. We’ve been living through this change process. Many of our discussions have centered about “when we will return to Ireland.”
As part of connecting with family and friends, we made a trip back to the mid-west and attended the church Tom was part of for many years. It was our first opportunity of speaking to a group about Ireland, our time there and the vision for the future. It was an excellent experience for both of us. Besides being energizing, this time identified areas where we need to clarify our vision.
We send a hearty “thanks” to the folks of New Hope for allowing us to share our experience and vision; for your interest in this work; and for reminding us that when with Christians, one is never far from family.
For more information about this mission, check out CelticMissions.org
Tom and I each traveled in different directions for meetings yesterday; then reconnected and enjoyed a late lunch at this location in Killarney.
The atmosphere was charming, relaxing and suitable for conversation.
We each enjoyed lunch and afterward shared an amazing dessert (fruit pavlova). Both of us were too amazed with how lovely this dessert looked to take photos ahead of time, so you must trust my assessment. I suspect in the future, something similar will come from my kitchen.
I’m captivated by the sheep dotting the countryside. Once out of town, in County Kerry, Ireland you’ll find many sheep. When we first arrived the little ones appeared quite fresh and so tiny. As we drive around I’ve noticed how much they have grown.
We left early, on our way to a bible study this week. The crisp morning air allowed us to see wide vistas. We drove along the coast and appreciated the view. We came to a spot that overlooks fields in the valley with the mountains in the background. Stopping on the narrow, twisty country roads is usually not an option. Yet we happened upon a driveway on our side of the road with a low gate on the opposite. We parked, got out, expected to take a couple photos and continue to the study.
I wasn’t prepared for what we encountered. The view was beautiful as expected, but sheep filled the field. As we stood at the fence enjoying the expanse before us, they bleated and moved towards us. This put me closer to the sheep of Ireland than I’ve been before. This was a special morning gift.
This was the scene during worship yesterday. The weather was the best we’ve experienced since we were here. Such a beautiful Sunday gift.
We’ve settled into some routines. I meet with a local writers group on Thursdays. They introduced me to “Poet’s Corner” which is a long-standing group that writes more than poetry and only meets on Bank Holidays. I’ve attended two readings with this group. I appreciate the weekly group welcoming me and letting me become part of their group; their patience as I try to develop “Irish Ears” (sometimes I have a better understanding than other times); I’m encouraged by the different writing styles and the freedom of verse expressed. Last week after everyone read we did something new for me. We told a story. One person starts with whatever they want and at some point just stops and the person next to them picks up the story. No one knows where this will go. Talk about sparking creativity on the run! It was fun, it was a good time, and we all laughed. …and no. No one wrote the story down. It all moved quickly.
I’m attending an evening study with Tom and he’s attending several others besides. Our circle of contacts continues to grow. Along with that growth is the growth in our understanding of the culture. Sometimes I feel like I understand so very little. But I’m becoming more aware of things I don’t know.
God’s grace abounds as He keeps bringing people into our circle willing to enlighten us or share a meal or their life with us. Our days are flying by (Yes, we each keep making this statement). But it is true. As we become more involved, we recognize more things we could do. We will build a list for future trips and opportunities.