Tag Archives: Ireland

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.

 

 

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.

Second Half

I recently finished reading “The Second Half of your Life” by Jill Shaw Ruddock.

I resonate with the term “Second Half” instead of “old” or “retired.”

This book covers much information I’ve previously read, available to the woman who reaches those menopausal years, yet Jill Ruddock nicely pulled it all together in one place. Being an American, I enjoyed reading perspectives from “the other side of the pond,” even though I’m currently “on that side.” The core issues remain the same.

I enjoyed the humor found in the different use of vocabulary.

I appreciated her reference to those of us who are “baby boomers” being the “golden generation.” She stated we have defined every age of our lives simply because of how many of us there are; and expects as a group we will redefine what “old” means.

Enjoying my Second Half
Cold, windy day at Dingle Bay

I like that thought. I have no interest in the idea of trying to be younger than my current age, but certainly won’t sit down and wait to die. This is my “second life” and I’m enjoying life. For me, that means life is to be lived; to be creative; to be full of passion and meaning.

Last week I spent a morning with a group of women trying to get a Women’s Resource Center off the ground here in Tralee, Ireland. The room was filled with energy while women shared their vision and passion to create something in the community to benefit many. Some of these women were in their “second half” living a passionate life.

 

What’s your current passion?

 

Coffee shops abound!

Not being a big coffee fan, I’m often confused by the choices offered. The following wall art at Costa in Tralee helps solve the problem for those of us who don’t understand the coffee lingo.

 

Coffee Menu
Know what you are ordering

 

Besides providing clarification, the art fits the décor beautifully.

 

Coffee Ambiance
A comfortable place to connect with others

 

Am I the only one who would find this helpful?

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.

Because of the people…

Our trip to Ireland, bookended by England happened because of people.

There are many memorable things about our summer trip to England and Ireland, but spending time with people we knew was a big highlight!

We forged a plan to travel to Ireland for 2016 in 2014 while old friends visited from Germany. The four of us wanted to get together again and wanted it to be sooner than the nine years since our earlier visit. The question was, “how do we make this happen?”

We discussed the possibility of meeting up while traveling and moved onto places we wanted to visit, but had not. Tom immediately said, “Ireland.” This location was also on their list.

We agreed on Ireland and the summer of 2016, figuring we had lots of time to make our plans.

Christmas of 2015, family was home from England. They suggested we visit them as well. We planned to do so, but hadn’t figured out the details. Jonny was great in suggesting a route allowing us to begin and end our trip in England. Instead of traveling back and forth in one country and then heading to the other, we would travel in one direction, starting and stopping in London. This also simplified travel arrangements to and from the U.S. Once we had that information and a contact in Europe who could make recommendations to us, the planning became much easier.

We landed in London and took the bus south where we spent the first days of our trip in the Dorchester, Dorset area. Reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying such a relaxing atmosphere was the perfect way to start a long trip. Thank you Sony, Alastair, Jonny and Abby. We had a great time!

Then we were off to Ireland. After landing in Dublin and renting a car, Tom navigated the challenges of driving on the ‘other side’ of the road. The first week we spent alone in county Kerry, Tralee.

From there we drove to county Galway, Galway and connected with our friends from Germany. What a delightful adventure, the four of shared as we toured the surrounding area and explored the seashores. Thank you Gudrun and Caj! We also had the pleasure of meeting Larena and Chris, missionaries to the youth in Galway.

We spent a few days in county Wicklow – Bray exploring by ourselves. One day was a train ride to Dublin where we explored part of the city; one we went to Waterford to visit the crystal factory and a trip to a lighthouse that has been in operation over 800 years; one we explored local gardens and old city ruins.

Then a short flight from Dublin to London allowed us to explore parts of London and wind down with Tim and Marina. This provided an opportunity to slow down a little and reconnect with family before heading back to America and home. Thank you Tim and Marina for your hospitality!

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Interactions with people are what I tie my memories of places to. This trip was so rich with those experiences and opportunities. There are many we exchanged conversations with not mentioned here; they each added to my memories.

Thank you all for contributing to my memories. It was an amazing epic trip.