Tag Archives: Blessings

Wild Weather…

Soup Warms the Soul

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.

People say…

… the mountain casts a spell over people who live near it. When one leaves the area, the spell causes that person to never really leave, but at least continue to return.

Maybe…

Maybe not…

We left the area about six weeks ago, then returned to retrieve a vehicle we’d left behind. Our conversations revealed we each felt happy to be back in town, driving the streets, seeing a few friends, enjoying the sights and having food from several favorite places. 

Let there be no mistake. We know our new home, the region where we live, the town we’re part of is exactly where we are supposed to be and we’re thrilled to begin this new adventure in our life journey.

We’ve returned to locations from our past homes because of the people, but never experienced the feeling of simple happiness by just being in the area. Perhaps there is a spell on us from the mountain, or maybe it’s because we each experienced so much personal growth and deepened our spiritual lives here; made many friendships and memories. We changed living here. We’re not the same people we were when we moved here. We smile, knowing we’ll be back again.

Beautiful Night Scene

Have you ever felt like living somewhere changed who you are?

Spring… is coming to the mountains!

The air is filled with birds singing, happy for the promise of warmer weather.

Yesterday, while on my way to town, I saw my first bluebird of the season.

Yeah!

They are absolutely my favorite.

From now through summer I’ll have the pleasure of seeing the vibrant, electric blue darting in the tree branches, or flying in the air.

It always brings a smile to my face.

Let the warmer weather come.

Transition Week

My week in photos…

Sunday afternoon with friends at Mucross House

Sunday at Mucross

Tuesday at Inch Beach after Bible Study

Tues with Judy at Inch Beach

Wednesday at Adare Manor

Wednesday Full view of Adare Manor

Friday, drive home from Denver

Friday Travel from Denver to Carbondale

Friday, view from our home

Friday view from Home

Saturday, home town

Saturday Home Town trip

Just us…

Just us

Now it’s time to sort out all the events of the last four weeks.

Blessings…

Yesterday, we ended the day with this beautiful sunset, viewed from the window of our friend’s house. We reconnected after church with friends we met while in Ireland in the spring of 2019. 

Sunset in Ireland

The sunset was beautiful. 

Yet I find the real blessing to be how God brings His people together. That no matter where you travel, when with Christians you feel like you’re with family. 

It is beautiful to reconnect with those we forged bonds with last spring.

Merry Christmas…

Christmas Night

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
Not a creature was stirring….

Perhaps this is a night for reflection.

…a quiet night to sit by a fire, or simply on a couch

…a time to think of what is right in your life

…or to think on the things you might like to change

Christmas is special to me. I’ll spend this evening in my home, reflecting on Christmas’ past, and the people who’ve impacted my life. I’ll count my joys and blessings, and though I hold those things lightly, for me it’s important to recognize them.

I’ll wait for snow, like a child waits for Santa because that is part of the magic of my Christmas.

I’ll think on that time so many years ago when history was changed a child was born in a manger. Then I’ll think on the time I made his saving grace a part of my life.

May you enjoy the blessings of this holiday season and find joy in the coming year.

Update…

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.

New Hope Window

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

Back Home

In both Ireland and England, they spoke English yet it is so different from American English. I appreciated many of the differences and enjoyed laughs with others at confusion caused by some of those differences. I kept hearing about “biscuits and tea” and thought of “baking powder biscuits.” Eventually, I figured out “biscuits” means cookies, scones and similar desserts. One day, I read a section of Dream Glasses to the writer’s group and someone asked “what are cookies?” Much laughter ensued the explanation.

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry

In Ireland when foreigners move into a town, the locals refer to them as “Blow-ins.” Even when an Irish person moves from one town to another, they are considered “Blow-ins.” With that understanding I can say, we were Blow-Ins that had plenty to learn about life in Ireland.

Ireland’s culture is rich and deep. Wow! There are layers upon layers of history to create the culture. Pondering those eight weeks brings the realization of how much we learned, how many people we interacted with and how much those people impacted us. I learned how extremely similar we all are and yet how uniquely individual we are. It is amazing how we’ve each been created!

We’ve returned to American soil, with a part of Ireland in our hearts. We learned Christian leaders there, just like here, need encouragement and support of other believers. Those who shared what our being in County Kerry meant to them, richly blessed us; they found encouragement in our being there and look forward to our return.

Linda found friendship with a group of writers. Writers bond over words; over the emotions tied to those words; then bond over a cup of tea and shared laughter.

Before heading back to Colorado, we spent five days with family and friends in the Dorset, England area. That was an amazing holiday time — a time to share with another Christian couple the work God’s doing in Ireland and what we experienced; time given to us without the responsibilities of hearth; it was a time for our own thoughts to settle in our minds before landing back home; it was a beautiful gift.

In our ten weeks away, we discovered friendship as a result of daily living in the culture and enjoyed those whom we interacted with. The blessing of friendship is something we can each bring to the world surrounding us, every day we have breath.

 

Back Home
Looking at Sopris

Sorting Thoughts…

Wow! It’s hard to believe we wrapped up week seven in Ireland. In the blink of an eye, seven weeks passed.

Thoughts whirl and twirl through my mind as I try to sort them. I suspect the sorting process will take some time.

Each of us has made contacts in County Kerry that have a place in our hearts, as do many people back in the US. I’ve read each of us only has the capacity to maintain a finite number of relationships, and that number varies little from person to person. That’s not my life experience. I find as I reach out and build a relationship with someone, my heart expands to make room for more relationships. With each relationship I build, it enriches something within my life.

My heart swells at the good thoughts of those who have touched my life; I’m grateful for the simple expressions of friendship, for the caring acts of our family, for the loving arms of God’s expanded family who know no geographical boundaries.

We’ve written about the weekly activities we each take part in, and those activities may sound simple or repetitive, but in many ways that is what life is about—simple, repetitive acts performed again and again; all the while with lives interacting and crossing one another. And so, week seven was another such week for us, full of people, interactions and activities.

We try to take one day each week and drive somewhere. The attached photo is from a seashore town, an area traveled often by tourists which is why I suspect the houses are so brightly colored. It is beautiful, and then nearby is the blue of the sea and the sky.

Seaside Town on Ring of Beara
Colorful houses on road along ring of Beara drive

A morning in Ireland…

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.