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.
Here’s where we rendezvoused and what we left…
I will return!
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.
… and was a blessed start to the day.
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.
Thank you for your interest and your prayers.
A beautiful bunch of roses.
A delicious loaf of banana bread.
An evening with new friends.
Waves crashing against the rocky shoreline.
Crazy narrow roads and lots of walking.
Shared tea around a table, talking of how God has worked in each of our lives.
Clouds racing across the sky.
The sun appearing at a grey day’s end, to present a colorful sunset.
Life in Ireland is exposing us to so many unexpected experiences.
We find ourselves in an environment where the weather is wild; a land that is so internationally diverse; a relaxed culture; a place where people value storytelling, drama and the written word; and a friendly people group.
When we arrived, there was snow on the mountains. Yes, Ireland has mountains. Some days are warm enough to be outside in t-shirts and some days we’re wearing winter coats. Then there was storm Hannah with winds stated to be over 75 MPH. Yet, this is only weather and it constantly changes. We serve One who does not!
Through all the diversity and activities, we find God to be present and guiding. He’s opening doors so that either Tom or both of us can meet with pastors of small churches or various fellowship groups. Those we’ve talked with, emphasis the need for long-term commitment for ministering to the Irish.
They share information about differences in life here versus what we know in the U.S. As we develop relationships with them, we brainstorm ways small short-term groups from the US could aid in their outreach.
We’ve each connected with some folks outside faith groups, some are refugees from other lands, some are creative people, some appreciate the arts, some are local businessmen/women, some are working to create a resource center for women. We’ve connected with each of them on different levels, and they may not realize that they are impacting our lives. Our prayer is that we’ll impact theirs as well.
Later this week we’re off to visit friends we met in 2016 while in Galway. Since we last saw them, they’ve given birth to a little one. Their outreach to the young adults / college-age people in Galway continues to grow.
Days are flying by.
Our compassion grows.
The little lambs are bigger.
We appreciate your prayers; we wait for His guidance.
October 30th, an angel blessed me.
I planned to travel home from Huntsville, AL to Grand Junction, CO with a flight transfer in Dallas/Fort Worth. Tom would pick me up about 6:30 P.M. (or something close to that.)
The plane from Huntsville never took off. When my plane landed in Huntsville emergency vehicles, fire trucks and police vehicles met it. The airlines kept delaying the departing flight and rescheduled connecting flights for the passengers. They rescheduled my connecting flights from Dallas, first to Phoenix and onto Grand Junction.
About 5:30 P.M. they canceled the Huntsville to Dallas flight. I could either spend the night in Huntsville and return to fly in the morning or fly to Dallas tonight, then they offered me a morning flight to Aspen. Being closer to home sounded better than starting over tomorrow. I opted to fly to Dallas.
Our flight to Dallas landed after nine P.M. I talked with an American Agent who offered a voucher for a night’s stay in the local Super 8 Hotel. I called the number on the voucher to request a pickup. The waiting area, the last in the pickup zone, was dimly lit.
There were two of us from this Huntsville flight waiting. I called first to schedule our ride and then two more times to figure out when the pickup would happen and could never get an answer when they would arrive. They said; the driver had left; they were experiencing a busy night, and they didn’t know when he would arrive. At that point we had already waited over 45 minutes.
The gentleman I was waiting with said, “I have thousands of points available at Marriott—let me get us each a room.” I protested and his comments were “No worries. I have points to spare.” He called for rooms and said, “We’ll take which ever shuttle shows up first.”
Within seven minutes the Marriott van arrived to pick us up. We got in the shuttle. Thoughts ran through my mind questioning what I was doing. Here I was, in a van heading to a hotel with someone whom I didn’t even know his name. God quickly brought the scripture to mind about how some have entertained angels unaware and peace filled my mind. (En route I received a Dallas phone call. I suspect it was the other hotel. By the time the call came through, an hour had passed since I made the original request for pick up.) We arrived at the hotel. Made arrangements for the morning shuttle, and each went to our rooms.
I had an amazing room; the bed had great pillows. For me, pillows make the difference regarding a good night’s sleep. I took awhile to fall asleep, as I was bone chilled from standing outside so long.
In the morning we met in the breakfast area and took the shuttle to the airport, each of us going to different terminals. I asked if I could get a business card and was told, “No worries.” We said goodbye and wished each other safe travels.
I have no name or contact information to offer a thank you. But I’m appreciative for this angel who waited with me in a dark area in a strange town and then offered me a refreshing place to rest for the night. God provides and cares for his own. I’m grateful!
Journey to the Heights
With a subtitle of… life is the journey
… is the name of this blogsite.
Many times someone has asked me, why this name? It’s so long.
It is long, but I’ll share with the different meanings this name holds for me.
I grew up in the mid-west and lived my life east of the Mississippi River. I spent six years in Germany. I lived all those years at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, sometimes as low as 180 feet above sea level.
My current house sits at 7,400 feet in the Rocky Mountains. For me, this move was a “journey to the heights.”
Ironically, we live in an area referred to as “Missouri Heights.”
My faith expects me to grow and mature, representing the love of God and the life of Christ more and more. For those of you who personally know me, you recognize some days that truth is more evident than others. God obviously calls us to a higher level.
For me Journey to the Heights means all these things.
I’m blessed with better health living at a higher elevation with a drier climate than any I enjoyed earlier in my lift.
I’m blessed by being surrounded with natural beauty, constantly changing. One can watch the massive skies with the clouds and various colors throughout the day. Stars appear close enough to touch.
I’m blessed that God put me here, in this location for this time of my life and He is taking me to higher levels in my faith. This is a gift!
And so, I share Journey to the Heights with all who are curious about my thoughts, my writings, my life!