Why Journey to the Heights?
So I share with you the different things this means.
I grew up in the mid-west and lived my life east of the Mississippi River. I spent six years in Germany. Those years were lived at less than 1,000 feet above sea level, sometimes as low as 180 feet above sea level.
My house is at 7,400 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The move was a ‘journey to the heights.’
We live in an area called: 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 who personally know me, you recognize some days that is more evident than others. God obviously calls us to a higher level.
For me Journey to the Heights means these things.
I’m blessed with better health living in 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 to 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 you!
We’ve been home a few weeks and thoughts of Ireland still resound in my mind.
Here are some photomontages of different aspects of Ireland that stand out for me.If one were to ask for a quick overview, I would respond by saying –
Green! It abounded. The first photo of the trees growing over the road, shaped by the bus traffic is a common sight.
Water and Beaches! They were everywhere. I loved the wind coming off the ocean; the ever-moving cloud scenes; the smell of the water and the freshness of the air. The beaches varied from being beautiful sand to rocky. It was very different seeing the Atlantic ocean looking in a westerly direction.
Sheep! They were everywhere. They appeared so different from the sheep I see in Colorado. They were shorter legged, more rounded in body and many were dyed to mark who they belonged to. They might be found in meadow fields, climbing rocky cliffs or close to the ocean. Except when we were in a city, we saw sheep everyday.
Tower Houses, Castles, Abbeys – old structures
From BeeHive house structures from 800AD, a lighthouse that’s been functioning for over 800 years, to medieval streets in the heart of cities — there were so many old structures. Some were still being used, some have been restored and some are in varying states of decay. It was difficult for me to comprehend just how old these structures are.
The Burren! This area was a surprise for me. From a distance it lacked the intense green so prevalent elsewhere. The surprise is how rich The Burren is with small plant growth; what a haven it is; and how rich it is in history.
The day we drove Dingle Peninsula, approaching Dingle, we could see a lighthouse in the distance but no signs leading to it. We turned around looking for a road leading to the beach and headed toward a little village called Beenbawn. There we found a small road leading to the shore with a view of the lighthouse on the other shore. The beach area was the first of many special places we would find during this trip. We watched a few people drive up the road, look at the water and turn around and leave. Our experience was much richer. As Tom climbed the higher rock walls over looking the water, I took a path between two rock walks, ultimately leading me down to the shore. The tide was out so I walked the sandy beach. The sound of the waves rolling in and then crashing against the outlying rocks before splashing back into the sea eliminated all sounds save for those from a few sea gulls on the beach. I was the only person exploring this beach. It was heaven!
I found colorful wildflowers, so small and delicate, growing on the sides and tops of the rock walls creating pockets of color against these dark reddish rocks. The sea was alive and vibrant; some of the waves created towering splashes as they crashed against the rocks.
This was the first of many enjoyable trips to the sea.
Cliffs of Moher
As we sat, we soaked up the sun, allowed the breeze blowing off the water to tussle our hair, breathed in the fresh ocean air and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks below.
Not all shores had beaches…
But they all had beauty
Salthill area outside Galway
Lunch on an island at a remote golf course tee overlooking the ocean…
The Hook Lighthouse Beach…
At one beach we met an older gentleman who had recently checked is fishing traps. He said, “The sea gets under your skin. I couldn’t live a day without coming down here.”
We packed up and headed out of Tralee, County Kerry. I’d gotten used to the “green” Ireland offers and had heard so many talk about.
We crested a hill and neither of us could believe what we saw. It did not look like the Ireland we had been introduced to. Our German friends called it a moonscape. I just thought it looked arid and barren.
A couple days later at a local perfumery (more about the perfumery another day), I learned the area is called the Burren and it offers the most diverse vegetation of anywhere in Ireland. There are only a few Irish plants that don’t grow in this area, and there are many only found here. In fact, there is a wild Irish found nowhere but here.
We walked the Burren and I was amazed. The limestone rocks have many cracks, crannies and holes. They are home to various plant life.
I understand why so many consider the Burren to be a very special place.
…a town in juxtaposition of very old and very modern.
I awoke in the heart this town just starting to rouse its self from winter, in preparation for the seasonal tourists, which are sure to arrive. Narrow medieval streets lined with colorful tiny shops filled my morning walk. People bustling about on narrow sidewalks dodging in and out of cars, to get where they are going. Crosswalks exist, but are rarely used. Drivers seem to expect people will pop into the street and cross in front of them.
Yes, this is a village, a very old village. I’m snuggled in the middle of it for a week, and I it’s charming. I almost feel lost in another time and place.
Expanding the exploration outside the old core, are many modern buildings and amenities. In these neighborhoods, the houses are bigger and further apart. The homes have characteristics of the region, but they feel like neighborhoods I’ve been to in many places.
Yet it’s in the very old where I find myself more comfortable. I enjoy walking from place to place. The people feel more connected with each other. They smile as you pass or stop to greet you.
Oddly enough, most my photos are from out of town. Go figure…
Here in the land of “50 shades of green” we’re enjoying ourselves.
While we admired the beauty here, it’s been suggested the sun is chasing us. We just experienced one of the longest, sunniest, warmest stretches in Ireland’s recent history.
I’ve been helping one of my dear friends pack up her house to prepare for a move to another community. It has been my pleasure to watch she and her husband embark on this adventure. They’ve lived in this valley for so many years. They raised their children here, owned businesses, know many people and have more memories of this place than I can imagine. Yet, they heard God say it was time to move.
I heard she told her son how thrilled she is to have someone help with the packing, one that had moved many times with the military. Wow! I think so seldom of those years and when I do, my thoughts are of places I traveled to or people I met who impacted my life. The rigors of packing, moving and unpacking are not high on those memories. Yet God in His infinite grace makes something out of what we may perceive as nothing. I’m honored that a friend can use something past, which seems like part of another life, today.
While in Haiti I was impressed by the people. They are poor. Poor beyond anything I could imagine. Yet these people were dignified, gracious and grateful. The following photo is a candid shot of one of these couples. I also shot the formal pose, which was their preference.
I volunteered with Poured-Out, installing bio-sand water filters in homes. The people have requested these filters, signed up for and paid 200 Gourde (approximately 4.00 US dollars.) This small contribution to the cost of the filters denotes ownership in the process. These people were interested and invested in learning about the benefits of the filters and the maintenance. As part of the extensive survey they participated in, they were asked if there were things they wanted shared with people in the United States to understand what the filters mean to them and why their contributions are so meaningful. I was blown away by the responses! Below are some of the responses I would like to share. Hopefully these words will give you some insight into the gratitude I was able to witness during my work in Haiti.
- Thank you, this kind help will be easy for us to save more money, to keep our health – May God bless you. I hope this favor continues in Haiti.
- Thank you a lot, encourage you for this good work, it is a great work, we really like it. We will pray for more people to give to this work, so God will touch their hearts. We are very happy with the work.
- Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Be strong in the world. Cover much area with filters. She will pray we will be blessed and can continue this work.
- God sent you to Haiti to bring clean water. Thank you so much for helping another country. We will pray for you.
- I feel it is a big lesson, just sitting here while you install a filter for my family. Now we don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other diseases because now our water will be clean. This is a big opportunity for all of us. A big thank you to all of you.
- I congratulate you! I think it is a big thing. My family has a filter. I hope others will have filters also. That’s why I will continue to pray for you so that God can continue to bless you to have a giving heart. Thank you.
- Thank you for the good work. Continue the good work. Don’t get discouraged. Even though you do the work for us, God will bless you. Thank you and God bless you.
- We need to get the word out so more people can have filters. More people need them. Doing this is a big job in Haiti. You are killing cholera in Haiti. Thank you so much. Pray that God can bless you as an organization and keep on working. Pray that God would continue to provide the money for this work.
- I have satisfaction you have given us this filter. I want to thank you for doing this work. I know the area next to mine needs filters too, so can you guys bring more? We have other areas, communities, people who have sickness and cholera and they need filters and would love it if you could bring some there too.
- This is a big help because we have a lot of disease in this country. This filter will help us a lot because clean water is the most important thing in our lives. Thank you.
- I am so happy about the work I know that God put that in your heart to help us. I want to say thank you again. May God bless you to continue to do this job.
- I say thank you for this support. It will help me not to buy water again. Money it will be used for other. Thank you a lot. May the Love of God follow you.
- We say thank you for this effort for this help in Haiti. We encourage you to continue doing this job because God will bless you. May God protect you and bless you. Thanks for having God in your life.
- We say thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you the ability to continue installing these filters. May God bless you.
- Thank you so much because you leave home, your family to come. We will pray for you I pray that God will protect and take care of you. God is the one who is in control of you.
- We thank you for this gift that you guys give. If we were buying it would cost a lot of money, but to have one is a big gift.
- We say thank you for the team that our eves see right now because God gave you the opportunity to think of Haitian people, after the two big shocks that we have had in our country of the earthquake and cholera outbreak. We say thank you to all the people who contribute to buying this for the Haitian people. May God bless you.
- First of all we thank God, that makes the idea in your mind to think of Haiti, and we thank God because he made it possible to do this good work. We pray the blessing of God over everyone who is doing this work. We were in need of this because we used to have to buy water to drink now we won’t have to buy it anymore.