2020 – I join with friends around the globe to say “Adieu” Your stories will be told for years to come No need for more …and now I direct my gaze forward
2021 – enter Open our eyes to see fresh things Teach us to see beauty in the little as well as the grand Remind us there is nothing new under the sun And that peace comes through faith Let that faith grow in our lives As we recognize all of mankind is suffering We make a difference one step at a time Give us courage to take those individual steps
Welcome 2021 The world is ready for a change How about you?
To those asking questions about my last post, I’ll share some answers. First, I need to provide some history to show you the story of our journey of saying “YES.”
I’m unable to provide human response that makes logical sense for this move. This relocation is the result of saying “yes” to what we feel God is asking us to do.
In 2012, we moved to Colorado. After looking for a retirement location, I fell in love with the Roaring Fork Valley. We settled in, and the beauty and grandeur of this location continued to captivate me. My faith relationship continued to develop. I’ve gained friends who’ve become like family. This valley has been my home—and that feels secure.
During this faith journey, I’ve come to gain a greater understanding of just how much God loves each of us; meaning, even me. As my understanding of that love has grown, so has my desire to be where God wants me. One of my lessons has been the power of saying “yes” when God asks you to do something. Those “yeses” have stretched and changed me. (For insight on those experiences, you might want to look at my posts about Haiti and Ireland.)
Back to the current questions.
We visited family in California in July and returned home, refreshed. Both of us were feeling urgings of God saying, “I want you in Southern California.” This birthed conversation between us, causing us to ask questions about what such a move would look like; why; what happens; etc.?
I love living here—yet heard God saying, “Do you love me? Do you trust me?”
Again, we talked and my husband was experiencing similar thoughts. We’ve learned the best response to God is “YES” when he asks you to do something. So, we are taking one step at a time, following God’s leading. We don’t know exactly where we’ll land, but trust God has something for us. He provided our Colorado house, and all others in our past.
For anyone reading this, I encourage you to evaluate your faith relationship. Do you know you are loved beyond measure? Does your faith relationship influence your daily life? Do you feel challenged to stepping out of your comfort zone? (Stepping out looks different for each of us, so I encourage you not to judge your responses to someone else’s, and especially not to our journey.)
For our friends living in the valley, know that the relationships we have here are meaningful to us. We will miss you. Geography doesn’t have to change friendships, they just look different.
There is power in YES; there’s adventure, and there’s the unknown. Faith journeys always include perceived unknowns.
‘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.
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
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.
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.
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.