Tag Archives: Life

Irish Memories Linger…

We’ve been home a few weeks and thoughts of Ireland still resound in my mind.

Here are some photomontages of different aspects of Ireland that stand out for me.If one were to ask for a quick overview, I would respond by saying –

Green! It abounded. The first photo of the trees growing over the road, shaped by the bus traffic is a common sight.

 

Water and Beaches! They were everywhere. I loved the wind coming off the ocean; the ever-moving cloud scenes; the smell of the water and the freshness of the air. The beaches varied from being beautiful sand to rocky. It was very different seeing the Atlantic ocean looking in a westerly direction.

 

Sheep! They were everywhere. They appeared so different from the sheep I see in Colorado. They were shorter legged, more rounded in body and many were dyed to mark who they belonged to. They might be found in meadow fields, climbing rocky cliffs or close to the ocean. Except when we were in a city, we saw sheep everyday.

 

Tower Houses, Castles, Abbeys – old structures

From BeeHive house structures from 800AD, a lighthouse that’s been functioning for over 800 years, to medieval streets in the heart of cities — there were so many old structures. Some were still being used, some have been restored and some are in varying states of decay. It was difficult for me to comprehend just how old these structures are.

 

The Burren! This area was a surprise for me. From a distance it lacked the intense green so prevalent elsewhere. The surprise is how rich The Burren is with small plant growth; what a haven it is; and how rich it is in history.

 

When You Travel – hold onto your hat!

 

P1030853

We arrived in Galway, checked into our apartment and headed to the store to pick up a few things so we could fix breakfast the next morning. By Irish standards it was a large store. We made our selections and were walking down the produce isle when an elderly man approached me. He was neatly dressed and wearing an old leather hat. He spoke with a heavy brogue and had to repeat himself several times. Tom and I realized at the same time what he was saying. He inquired of me, if he could exchange hats with my husband. Tom wanted to know why I was being asked instead of him. The gentleman replied that he knew Tom would say no, but perhaps I’d be willing to work the exchange. I laughed saying I kinda liked my husband in his hat. We all laughed. As he turned to walk away, he told us he was just making fun.

 

Between Ireland and England, several people approached Tom and asked about his hat. No one had an offer as good as the gentleman in the grocery store.

 

We had just stepped off the tube one night and were walking toward the exit. There was a gust of wind. I felt my hat move and grabbed it quickly. I mentioned I almost lost my hat. Tom said he saw that. As we continued walking toward the stairs another train blew through the station on the tracks in the opposite direction and Tom’s hat went flying. We were unsuccessful in rescuing it, before it fell into the tracks. We had nothing long enough to retrieve it. After checking the schedule and seeing we had a couple of minutes before the next train was schedule to arrive, Tom carefully lowered himself down to the walkway at the track level, retrieved his hat and scurried back up to the walk level. I breathed a sign of relief when he was standing beside me again. We were on our way up the stairs when the next train came through the station.

 

If you are traveling and like your hat, hold on!

 

Tralee

P1030558.JPG

 

…a town in juxtaposition of very old and very modern.

I awoke in the heart this town just starting to rouse its self from winter, in preparation for the seasonal tourists, which are sure to arrive. Narrow medieval streets lined with colorful tiny shops filled my morning walk. People bustling about on narrow sidewalks dodging in and out of cars, to get where they are going. Crosswalks exist, but are rarely used. Drivers seem to expect people will pop into the street and cross in front of them.

Yes, this is a village, a very old village. I’m snuggled in the middle of it for a week, and I it’s charming. I almost feel lost in another time and place.

Expanding the exploration outside the old core, are many modern buildings and amenities. In these neighborhoods, the houses are bigger and further apart. The homes have characteristics of the region, but they feel like neighborhoods I’ve been to in many places.

Yet it’s in the very old where I find myself more comfortable. I enjoy walking from place to place. The people feel more connected with each other. They smile as you pass or stop to greet you.

Oddly enough, most my photos are from out of town. Go figure…

P1030574

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.

Good Friend, Good Wine, Great Memories

Relax with a good wine...
Relax with a good wine…

 

During one of our trips to the mid-west, we enjoyed the privilege of staying with good friends. We were each looking forward to spending time together. Mary wanted everything associated to our visit with them to be perfect. We shared many good memories with them, so being together again felt relaxing and comfortable. The four of us settled in the living room and planned to catch up on the news in each of our lives. The guys would share a white wine. Mary had a special red wine she wanted me to try. Everyone was comfortable, and we toasted one another. I took a sip of my wine and was pondering the flavor. She took one sip, stood up and said, “This wine is not what I wanted. It won’t do.” She took my glass, headed to the kitchen where she proceeded to the sink and dumped the two glasses of wine down the drain. Surprised and shocked, I didn’t know what to do. This was so out of character for her, and I thought the wine tasted superb.

She rinsed our glasses and opened another bottle of wine; then returned with a different red wine. Mary found this wine satisfying. I considered it enjoyable, but I liked the first better.

Because of the memories associated with that evening and our friendship, I try to keep at least one bottle of Wild Horse, Pinot Noir in my house. Whenever I open a bottle and enjoy a glass, I am transported to another place in time. I remember our evening, our friendship and the pleasure of our shared relationship.

Revival or Refining — Part II

I’ve been pondering the Revival or Refining question for a few days. Thanks to each of you who reacted to this post.

A friend on FaceBook posted a comment that simply said “Both”.

His response resonated with me. I believe he is correct.

God’s church is the people! So when we consider anything the church is experiencing we need to consider what the individuals are experiencing.

Refining happens when we submit to changes God wants to make in our lives. These changes should be happening to all believers regularly. Then those changes should bring about revival within us. We should be strengthened, changed and desire to be closer to God.

Refining may have gotten a hard wrap. People tend to consider it something negative. Sometimes the process is difficult, but that may be the result of our resistance. The results of refining are what most of us desire.

  • To be free from impurities
  • To be free from moral imperfection
  • To improve or perfect
  • To be free from what is coarse, vulgar or uncouth

If these things are going on in your life, you are changing. Those changes are reason enough to celebrate “revival”.

Here’s the definition for revival so you can see if it might already be occurring in your life:

  • An improvement in the condition or strength of something
  • An instance of something becoming popular, active or important again

I think The Church should be ready for both “refining” and “revival”. We should encourage one another to submit to the refining and live in revival!

 

A Nurse, I’m NOT!

As a young child, I idolized my second cousin Joan. She was a nurse. I was sure I wanted to be a nurse, like her. I stuck by that dream until I was 16. Something happened during the year to make me realize I had no tolerance for seeing others in pain, or even seeing things I perceived as being painful.

Over time my sensitivity to issues requiring medical attention increased. As I had children, I could attend to their cuts and bruises as needed, if no one else was around. If some other able body were in the vicinity, I would get hot, and then dizzy, rendering me worthless in dealing with the problem. The other adult would dress the injury. With things bandaged up, I could attend to their other needs.

Fast forward, now I’m home with a husband requiring attention to a surgical wound. YIKES! I’m able to get the initial bandage off. But the gauze around the drain tube is stuck. I feel myself getting hot, and my head getting lighter. I back off and sit down.

The good news is, my being a wuss about medical things is no surprise and we both laugh about it. He references how funny he thought it was listening to the doc telling me the things I would have to do at home.

After taking a break, I get the old bandage removed. Photo the site and the pictures off to the doc. Hubby is enjoying the break from having is neck all bandaged. I’m not enjoying his freedom. The sight is unsettling for me. We work together and get the bandage back around the drainage tube.

The phone rings. Doctor’s office calling. He has to take this call. Then he asks me to make some calendar adjustments. When I’m done, he’s completed his taping up of the new bandage.

Why this happens I don’t understand! Intellectually I understand what needs to be done and why. Yet when it’s time to take action, my mind doesn’t respond the way I need it to.

 

 

Grateful Haitians…

While in Haiti I was impressed by the people. They are poor. Poor beyond anything I could imagine. Yet these people were dignified, gracious and grateful. The following photo is a candid shot of one of these couples. I also shot the formal pose, which was their preference.

Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)
Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)

I volunteered with Poured-Out, installing bio-sand water filters in homes. The people have requested these filters, signed up for and paid 200 Gourde (approximately 4.00 US dollars.) This small contribution to the cost of the filters denotes ownership in the process. These people were interested and invested in learning about the benefits of the filters and the maintenance. As part of the extensive survey they participated in, they were asked if there were things they wanted shared with people in the United States to understand what the filters mean to them and why their contributions are so meaningful. I was blown away by the responses! Below are some of the responses I would like to share. Hopefully these words will give you some insight into the gratitude I was able to witness during my work in Haiti.

  • Thank you, this kind help will be easy for us to save more money, to keep our health – May God bless you. I hope this favor continues in Haiti.
  • Thank you a lot, encourage you for this good work, it is a great work, we really like it. We will pray for more people to give to this work, so God will touch their hearts. We are very happy with the work.
  • Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Be strong in the world. Cover much area with filters. She will pray we will be blessed and can continue this work.
  • God sent you to Haiti to bring clean water. Thank you so much for helping another country. We will pray for you.
  • I feel it is a big lesson, just sitting here while you install a filter for my family. Now we don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other diseases because now our water will be clean. This is a big opportunity for all of us. A big thank you to all of you.
  • I congratulate you! I think it is a big thing. My family has a filter. I hope others will have filters also. That’s why I will continue to pray for you so that God can continue to bless you to have a giving heart. Thank you.
  • Thank you for the good work. Continue the good work. Don’t get discouraged. Even though you do the work for us, God will bless you. Thank you and God bless you.
  • We need to get the word out so more people can have filters. More people need them. Doing this is a big job in Haiti. You are killing cholera in Haiti. Thank you so much. Pray that God can bless you as an organization and keep on working. Pray that God would continue to provide the money for this work.
  • I have satisfaction you have given us this filter. I want to thank you for doing this work. I know the area next to mine needs filters too, so can you guys bring more? We have other areas, communities, people who have sickness and cholera and they need filters and would love it if you could bring some there too.
  • This is a big help because we have a lot of disease in this country. This filter will help us a lot because clean water is the most important thing in our lives. Thank you.
  • I am so happy about the work I know that God put that in your heart to help us. I want to say thank you again. May God bless you to continue to do this job.
  • I say thank you for this support. It will help me not to buy water again. Money it will be used for other. Thank you a lot. May the Love of God follow you.
  • We say thank you for this effort for this help in Haiti. We encourage you to continue doing this job because God will bless you. May God protect you and bless you. Thanks for having God in your life.
  • We say thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you the ability to continue installing these filters. May God bless you.
  • Thank you so much because you leave home, your family to come. We will pray for you I pray that God will protect and take care of you. God is the one who is in control of you.
  • We thank you for this gift that you guys give. If we were buying it would cost a lot of money, but to have one is a big gift.
  • We say thank you for the team that our eves see right now because God gave you the opportunity to think of Haitian people, after the two big shocks that we have had in our country of the earthquake and cholera outbreak. We say thank you to all the people who contribute to buying this for the Haitian people. May God bless you.
  • First of all we thank God, that makes the idea in your mind to think of Haiti, and we thank God because he made it possible to do this good work. We pray the blessing of God over everyone who is doing this work. We were in need of this because we used to have to buy water to drink now we won’t have to buy it anymore.

Go. Learn. Love. HAITI — The Short Story

I arrived home about 4 am today.

It was an amazing week! I’m still sorting through all the different thoughts and emotions involved in experiencing something so totally different from my life routines.

Market Day
Market Day
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.

There were 14 team members, 3 team leaders, and 3 translators working together in the Torbeck area, Okay Region of Haiti.

We installed 50 filters.

Yes! 50 filters.

What does that mean?

Each filter can process approximately 20 gallons of water a day.

That creates a potential of 1,000 additional gallons of safe drinking water available each day to improve the quality of life for the people of this area.

Lovely Haitian Girls
Lovely Haitian Girls

More info and photos to follow…