Tag Archives: Faith

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

Sunday in Ireland

This was the scene during worship yesterday. The weather was the best we’ve experienced since we were here. Such a beautiful Sunday gift.

 

Church in Killarney
Sunday morning worship

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.

 

 

 

 

Irish Thoughts

A beautiful bunch of roses.

A delicious loaf of banana bread.

An evening with new friends.

Roses

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.

The Count Down is on…

Today I’m near here…

Linda in February
February by Ruedi

 

In only three weeks…

No, it’s not April Fools’ Day I’m counting down.

…we’ll land in Ireland and be headed to our home away from home for two months.

 

We won’t be far from here…

Dingle Bay
Dingle Bay

 

We felt God ask us to follow him. We said “yes,” now we’re being asked to minister to His people in Ireland.

To learn more about what the adventure is and keep in touch with us,
check out https://www.celticmissions.org

 

Looking Ahead…

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As I think about what’s ahead in 2019, it’s hard not to reflect on the last few years. God has been birthing a change in me and my husband’s life. This started after we vacationed in Ireland and England several years ago. That vacation was a great opportunity for both seeing new sites and connecting with family and friends who live in Europe. We also met a couple who live and work in Galway.

Yet, when we arrived home, it was not where would we go for the next trip that occupied our minds. It troubled my husband (Tom) that there appeared to be so few options for going to church in Tralee, the home of his Irish ancestors. As he pondered the dilemma, God put on his heart that he could do something to change the situation.

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This seemed like a huge white canvas waiting to be painted, with us having no idea of what the picture was supposed to be. Originally, we thought we were supposed to go back in the fall of 2018, but that didn’t happen. When Tom prayed about all this, he felt the response was, “That’s okay, I’ll wait.” We became more earnest about discovering what this mission is supposed to be.

It’s been several years of praying and working through ‘life’ here where we live. The big white canvas contains a few broad sweeping strokes at this time. It is nowhere near a clear image. I laugh because it seems like we get insight and details only as we move forward, putting one foot in-front of the other on a path which leads back to Tralee; on a path which will provide opportunities to share God’s love; to help people understand God’s love is vast and wide and most importantly for them.

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You may ask, how will we accomplish that? Certainly, through prayer and God’s guidance. Tom will work with a pastor in a nearby community, building their small group ministries. We’ll both reach out in Tralee to people both in and out of the church, to help them develop an understanding of God’s love that is deeper than the hurts and hardships previously imposed by governments and the church. This is not a one time in and out mission trip. We expect we’ll spend two to three months a year in Ireland, establishing long-term relationships with people. Currently, it will just be Tom and I, but over time I expect others may take up the mantle and also spend a couple months at a time there.

 

 

You can partner with us, either financially or in prayer. Check out https://www.celticmissions.org/  for more information or to partner with us.

Fight Back

When it comes to negative thoughts and self-talk, we have to fight back against those things.

Steven Furdick’s book, Crash the Chatterbox may be a good resource if you struggle with this type of negativity.

Furdick wrote the book to help people understand how they can battle the negative thoughts and lies filling their heads and hearts and instead turn to God promises and truth.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others if they will work through the questions in the back.

There are a several statements that stood out to me:

…it’s not just what this chatter says that makes it dangerous. It’s what it keeps us from hearing.

…mistakes are inevitable but disrespect is inexcusable. And ingratitude is more than a misdemeanor.

…gratitude allows us to disconnect discouragement at the power source by choosing to call God good in spite of our situation.

 

Angel Encounter

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!

In Only a Moment…

Flowers

Things can change.

 

I experienced one of those moments on January 18th, when I slipped and fell while shopping and broke, not one arm – but both of my arms. With one elbow broken and the other shoulder fractured life slowed.

I have time to reflect on the blessings surrounding me. Beauty encircles me and resides within each of us. Family, friends and my beloved hubby are needed to help me achieve nearly everything.

God heals in many ways. Healing is a daily transformation that happens one step at a time. I’m confident His healing power is at work in my body.

 

What’s in a name?

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!

Eternal Justice

Disclaimer: I’m sure this topic may elicit some strong feelings from some of you. Please feel free to share your thoughts, but don’t expect any heated debates.

For more than a year, I’ve been reading or studying the issue of women in the church. All the reading and thinking, has left me feeling as if my sense of justice has been violated.

During this study time, I’ve come to recognize the power, or should I say, abuse of power by a few. The Judeo/Christian culture is primarily a patriarchal culture. I accept this as the world I live in. However, when I see how one uses their position of power and/or trust to contrive a message to fit their life view instead of accepting the original text may have been written to challenge or question that very life view, it strikes me as an abuse of power and trust. My sense of justice, or the sense that one should do the right thing because it is the right thing, feels very violated.

While sharing these thoughts with a close friend, she helped me put some perspective on this. She could understand my feelings; but told me when she feels something is unjust, she tries to step back and look at it from the scales of eternal justice. She said those who abused their power and trust, would one day be held accountable. Wow! Those words created a strong visual, and immediately brought to mind James 3:1

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

The good news is the sense of justice being violated was replaced with peace; with the promise and assurance the eternal scales will validate the truth.

Current day teachings associated with this topic should address the failings of those who translated the original manuscripts, or of those who led the early church into placing such emphasis on scriptures designed for a particular location or a particular set of circumstances. Will that happen?

That still leaves the question of, how ‘women in the church’ is to be lived out today?

For those of you who know me, this is a reversal of my former thoughts on the subject. I want to be clear, I believe God intended for women and men to be spiritually active in the church and among others. This change in my thoughts is not a matter of feminism or equal rights. For a woman, or a man to be involved in spiritual leadership, they have to possess the spiritual gifts of the position they are filling. Those gifts are not bestowed because of gender. People (men and women) receive these gifts from a loving God when they are in relationship with Him.