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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.

 

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Looking at Sopris

Unplugged for 72 Hours…..

Seventy-two hours – no phone, no watch, no laptop, no camera!

I recently returned from a women’s retreat where those were the rules. I did not miss a watch, but there were so many times where the beauty surrounding me was awe-inspiring and I simply wished I had my camera to capture the moment. I confess, I found being without my laptop a little challenging. I was not aware how connected to it I had become.

It was a wonderful weekend! I’m still meditating on all that happened in those seventy-two hours.

I would like to share one impact the weekend had on me. As a culture, we are busy and in such a hurry. So much so, we rarely take the time to share with people why we value them, or what they mean to us, what we appreciate about them or how they have impacted our lives.

Late in the weekend, I was given a bag of letters written by people who knew me. I had no idea how or why they wrote the letters, but reading them was overwhelming! They filled my heart with love and provided an insight into what my life meant to them, or why they valued me. There were aspects of my life or personality that were validated through those letters. The power of the written word to speak life into another is so strong.

My husband and I have tried to implement a tradition at least during the Christmas holidays where letters are written to our children and their spouses and they are to write us highlighting something special about the person the letter is for. Our efforts have resulted in varying levels of success. It is a lot of work, and I have caught myself wondering if we should continue the task. My weekend experience was confirmation for me we need to continue writing letters of affirmation to our children.

I realized affirming others is something needed in our culture. Instead of just identifying this is a need in our culture I can do to promote a change even if it is only in a small part of our world. My goal is to write at least one letter of affirmation to someone each month.

Have you found power in the words written to you? Did those words uplift and encourage you? I would enjoy hearing about your experiences.