Monthly Archives: September 2015

SCOTLAND!!! Day 11 – September 30, 2014

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Karen and Jen left at 6:00 to take a cab to take a bus to get to the airport to catch a plan back to the U.S.  Today is our in between Coty day – between tours.

Leaving Belfast, we are going by ferry to Scotland.

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SCOTLAND!!!  YAY!!!  The ride over was great.  it took about 3 hours to drive the car on, wait to start, and get on the way.  It was as huge as aa cruise ship.  Even tour buses came on and parked – 8 decks?  9?  The inside was as futuristic as the city in the Hunger Games.  Lounge chairs, monster TV screens, restaurants, casinos.

We first saw Scotland through a window.  What joy when the land first came into view!  Then went out on deck to see face to face – unloaded the cars and on our way.  First we drove along the coastline, then into the country past the Glasgow turns to Edinburgh.  Staying outside of Edinburgh tonight.  Will pick up Leona and Brenda tomorrow at the airport.

Scotland and Ireland do NOT look alike even though one lady in Ireland told us, “It is just more of the same.”  NOT true.

  • More cattle
  • More sheep
  • Bigger fields
  • Bigger homes
  • Wider roads
  • Bigger forests
  • Variety of trees
  • Guard rails
  • Less castle ruins
  • Mountains that run on in ridges without seeing a beginning and an end, and shaped like our Harlan County mountains.
  • Tree lines and barbed wire fences form borders instead of hedgerows and stone fences.
Signs:  “Hasten ye back” for hurry back.  “Diversion” instead of Detour.  “Give way” instead of yield.
We drove in the car for about another 2 – 3 hours, from the ferry to the hotel, and every single minute and every mile, I am in awe that I am actually here. Thanking God every inch of the way!  Dreams do come true!
Scotland Driving 12Stopped to take photos of one of the long arched railway bridges across a cow pasture.  Coty climbed over a double barbed wire fence to go out in the pasture.  When he came back and tried to check photos, he had forgotten to insert the SD card after downloading photos last night.   🙁
I really like Coty.  He’s on the ball for such a young age.  Truly.  I’m amazed at how he navigates the roads, round-abouts, and city traffic.  It’s as if this is home to him.  Most importantly, he loves the Lord.  Talented musician, recording artist, photographer, tour guide – and genuinely thoughtful and likeable.  He has put so much thought and preparation into this journey. Lord, bless him for all of his efforts.  🙂 and for helping make my dream come true – playing his role in the big picture.Scotland Driving 8
I kissed the ground today when we first got out of the car in Scotland and it felt really, really good.  I’m so thankful to be here.  It felt like “freedom” when we got n real land.
I hope when we leave, we will all have a sense of purpose – a sense of destiny.  I hope we can see God’s hand are work while we are here on the journey.
I hope Jen is feeling better for her journey home.  We are going to miss Karen’s wisdom and quotes.  Two very interesting  people from different walks of life.  It is good to be challenged by new thoughts and perspectives from other people’s life experiences.
Sandy is missing home, husband, daughter, pets, and all of her friends and family… but she seems recharged for Scotland.  🙂
Scotland Driving 9        Scotland Driving 7
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Ireland, Day 10 – September 29, 2014

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A2 Coastal Drive and on to Belfast –  DSCN5121 DSCN6009

My thought for the day:  “When we are young, we are trying to discover who we are.  When we get old, we are trying not to forget who we are and who we’ve been.”

We visited the  Titanic Museum.  The whole story is very sad/very sobering.  We ate lunch in the museum café.  I don’t even like thinking about the whole tragedy and those who lost their lives on that ship.  Lives interrupted.  Dreams unfulfilled.  Hopes dashed.  Hearts broken.  DSCN6225 IMG_6979

We are spending the night on the 25th floor in Belfast in a penthouse apartment.  We can see the whole city from the window.  As much as I don’t like cities as a rule, this is pretty cool.  There are o skyscrapers and not lots of big buildings linke in our country’s major cities.

Pretty amazing view from the window.  We can see the whole city.  IMG_6984IMG_6983IMG_6982

Karen and Jen are leaving us here and Sandy, Coty, and I are Scotland bound!  New travelers will join us.   Father, please bind our hearts together according to your purposes and prepare us for the new travelers.  See Karen and Jen safely home.IMG_6988

Thank you, Lord, for the amazing journey we have shared.

Father God, please establish your purposes in us, in this journey.  I’m so thankful we are not leaving in the morning when Jen and Karen have to go.  Whatever you have called me for about Scotland, still lays ahead.  Help me not to miss it.  Help me to get it right.

How can I ever thank YOU enough for sending me on this journey with these people at this time?  I believe it was meant to be for YOUR purposes.  Be glorified, Father; be glorified, Lord Jesus, be glorified Holy Spirit in the rest of this journey and all of what has already passed.  Let me wrap it up in love and give You glory for all of it.

I love you, Lord.  I love you, Lord.  I love you, Lord.  THANK YOU, thank you, thank you.  I give you glory, honor, and praise in all things.  🙂

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Ireland, Day 9 – September 28, 2014

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The possibility of participating in a local church service has fallen through as far as interacting with local churches.  We’ll see what today brings:

Giant’s Causeway:  Better seen than told.  Photographs can’t possibly do justice to the experience of being there.  We had to hike about another 2 miles there and back, but I thank God for physical strength in my knee to do it.  I would not have wanted to miss this part of the trip.  Coty says this is probably his most favorite place in Ireland.  I can see why.  Phenomenal.  The ocean was amazing around the rocks.  The rock formations are unlike any other rock formations in the world except the Isle of Staffa and one other place.  They are columns of molten lava that shot up through volcanic vents and hardened into rock as they cooled in these amazing shapes.

Karen is such a kind soul.  She tried to hang back with me so that I wouldn’t feel so bad about being slow because of my knee.  And Sandy is patient always.  I know she is missing her family.

Jen wasn’t able to come with us because of her fall and bruising.  Sorry she missed it.

Dinner at the cottage

Pack up to leave for Belfast tomorrow.

We’ve seen so much and done so much already that I can’t even remember it all.  I hope ALL of my photos are good and get safely home.  This is the most amazing period of my whole life.  Jen and Karen will be leaving us soon.  I wish they were on to Scotland with us.

Karen Quote today:  From Paradise Lost – John Milton – “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Thank you, Lord for the trip, for today, for the strength to make the walk, for the wonders of your world, for the people you’ve allowed to share this journey, and for Your amazing plan for each of our lives.  Guide is in all things.

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Ireland, Day 8 – September 27, 2014

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Today  we rearranged plans.  We had to take Jen to the hospital because of the fall last night.  She is very bruised, but the doctor said nothing is broken.  This was an educational experience in itself.  The doctor came out and got her in the ER, walked her back to his office, and then escorted her back and picked up the next patient when he was done.  No waiting!!!  Crazy!  Everyone was so professional and nice.

We packed in quite a day after the hospital incident.

Slieve League and Carrick-A-Rede Bridge 12   Slieve League and Carrick-A-Rede Bridge 11    Slieve League and Carrick-A-Rede Bridge 9

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was  one of the craziest things I’ve ever done giving my fear of heights.  It was about a 3/4 mile hike one way  with 200 – 300 stairs.and THEN the bridge stretching across from one cliff to the other above the surging ocean below.  I did much better going over and was terrified on the way back, clinging to the ropes, looking at the boards in front of me, and praying every breath.  Coty went to a far cliff to get a group shot but Karen shot across like a bullet.  Having no one to look at in front of me, I saw the open space, the ocean, and all I didn’t want to see.  Sandy was behind me waving at him and I had a death grip on the ropes.  Sorry Jen missed it.

Slieve League and Carrick-A-Rede Bridge 10The bridge was literally made of ropes and the footing was two boards laid side by side.  I kept telling myself, “Look at the boards.  Look at the boards.  Help me Lord.  Help me Lord.  Look at the boards, look at the boards.

 

IMG_6624 (5)The Dark Hedges – straight out of a fairy tale picture.  They have been filmed in several movies like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.  The photos and things I had looked up on the internet were not at all like being there, BUT I did get a couple of great shots before a bus load of tourists came pouring in, right in the way of people trying to get a photograph.  Of course, the lookers had as much right to enjoy the sight of it as the photographers.  🙂IMG_6627 (3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there we drove to the edge of the Irish Sea.  It took my breath away. The Irish Sea 15

The Irish sea 17

The coolest thing ever was when a man and his horse came onto the beach.  The horse was pulling a little trap-harness racing looking thing.  They went right out into the edge of the waves.  The horse seemed to love it.  It was near sunset with stormy skies coming in.  Got some great photos.

We wrote in the sand – on Irelands longest beach, and watched the waves come in to take our words away… like Coty’s song – “The Sea that Forgets.”

Sandy’s word was FEAR.

My word was SORROW.

Karen’s words were, “Jen’s trauma.”

IMG_6685 (2)I didn’t see all of what Coty wrote before the waves claimed the words, but I did see that he wrote “OCEAN” and took a photo of it.

We were on the North Irish Sea.  The tide had been out, but was coming in.  By now the beach is covered just like our sins washed away in God’s sea of forgetfulness.

We could see Scotland in the distance – an island hugging the horizon – Sandy’s and my first glimpse of Scotland.

Northern Ireland is different than Southern Ireland.  It is more affluent  here in the north – bigger houses, lots of cattle.  No stone fences and hedgerows instead.

I can’t believe 8 days are gone.  We arrived a week ago today and saw the ruins at Cashel – the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and now we’ve traipsed about the countryside they ruled and where the nobles lived.  Pretty amazing place for imagination!

Downhill Estate 2We didn’t stay long before driving on to Downhill Estate – only to discover it was once owned by the BRUCE family.  (Ettafaye and Danny will love that.)  I took LOTS of photos.  Truly an amazing place.  There had been a fire that destroyed the wooden part and the luxuries of the structure, but the stone skeleton of the estate remained and was evident of the wealth and luxurious lifestyle that had existed there.

Downhill 10b   Downhill 9b Downhill 8b

Back at the cottage I hand washed laundry and hung it out.  There are spiders as big as a person’s palm.  YUCK!

Lord, thank you for another incredible day.  thank you for good weather all around, and such lovely travelers to spend this adventure with.  Thank you for giving me courage to walk out on the bridge and physical strength to make the hike and do all of the stairs.  Thank you for touching my knees, for healing my back, and for loving me enough to heal me.  Thank you for amazing people, beauty, and experiences on this trip.  Do your work in me.  Make me who you want me to be.  Help me to grow into that woman you meant for me to be – NO LIMIS when the possibilities are all in YOU.  Please be with us tomorrow – protect and keep us safe.  Let us learn all the lessons you have in store for us.  Open doors of conversation so we can share our love for You, give You glory, and bless You while we are here together.  Please watch over our loved ones at home.  Keep them safe until we can be together again.

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Ireland, Day 7 – September 26, 2014

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  • Today we leave Sligo
  • Hike on Slieve LeagueIMG_6513
  • Lunch in Ardara
  • City Stop – Coleraine
  • Check in Bushmills Cottage – dinner in.DSCN5929

The cliffs of Slieve League were beautiful.  We hiked up the path and the soil was totally spongy under our feet.  Beautiful climb up the trail and easy walking.  They are the tallest cliffs in Ireland and all of Europe – 5X taller than the Cliffs of Moher.  Beautiful!

 

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Malin Beg we found on the way by accident.  it was fantastic.  Someone had written with stones, “I love you” on the beach below the cliffs.  It was probably for romantic purposes, but when I first saw it, I had the distinct impression that God had inspired someone to put it there for us to see and remind us of His love.  Certainly, this entire trip has felt like God’s message to me of how much He loves me.

IMG_6578               IMG_6585There is a theory that if you could map the Appalachian Trail and where it was before the continents drifted apart, it would join Ireland here at Slieve League.  What an amazing thought!

As we drove north to Northern Ireland, there were some differences:

  • No more stone walls
  • Pastures are separated by hedgerows.
  • Houses are bigger and more modern.
  • Some brown sheep instead of only white
  • Less castle ruins.
  • Different accents
  • Distance is converted to Miles
  • Money is based on the Brittish Sterling.

A sheep had its head stuck through a wire fence.  Coty got out and rescued it!  YAY!

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We stopped at a woolen mill and gift shop.  Bought a sweater for a friend. DSCN5917

I need to keep a tape recorder on or my journal in my lap to write down all of the wise and knowledgeable things that come out of Karen’s mouth and Coty’s.  Walking encyclopedias, sages, thinking people they are.

Karen recommended the book, Last Child in the Woods.

she quoted someone with this thougth, “The saddest thing about a graveyard is not that people have died, but that they never lived.”  DSCN6820

And to go along with that a Miles Munroe quote, “The wealthiest spot on this planet is not the oil fields of Kuwait, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. Neither is it the gold and diamond mines of South Africa, the uranium mines of the Soviet Union, or the silver mines of Africa.  Though it may surprise you, the richest deposits on our planet lie just a few blocks from your house.

They rest in your local cemetery or graveyard.

Buried beneath the soil within the walls of those sacred grounds are dreams that never came to pass, songs that were never sung, books that were never written, paintings that never filled a canvas, ideas that were never shared, visions that never became reality, inventions that were never designed, plans that never went beyond the drawing board of the mind, and purposes that were never fulfilled.

One of the greatest tragedies in life is to watch potential die untapped.”

I looked it up to get it right.  I never heard of Miles Munroe, but Karen quotes him, often.

Drove to Northern Ireland to a new cottage in Coleraine.  Beautiful.   We got to listen to Coty’s CDs on the drive.

Sheep grazing in the pasture next door.

Dinner in & movie – Sherlock Holmes.  Appropriate.

We all tried to do a bit of laundry, chatted, and bonded more between all of us… and then time for bed.  I love the time at the end of the day when everyone reflects and shares their thoughts about the day/ about life.

Karen was already in her room and the power in our cottage went out.  Jen was going to check on Karen and slipped on the stairs and landed hard on her hip/tailbone.  She is petrified that she has broken something and she is going to have a doozy of a bruise.  We prayed for her, put ice on her and don’t know what else to do for now.  The power came back on after Coty called the owner and told them what happened.

I really hate that this happened to her.  We have so much more trip ahead!  She took pain meds.

 

 

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Ireland, Day 6 – September 25, 2014

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IMG_6385Lord, be glorified in this day, in all that we do, in all that we say, see, hear, taste, touch, and be.  Let his whole journey be done in awe and worship of you.  As you touch our hearts on this journey, I ask that we be vessels to touch those along our way.

Wake your Irish children from sleep.  Bring revival to the land.

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Our nation is so young – the rebellious teen gone away from home.  But these lands, this earth beneath our feet, these people are our ancestors with roots in ancient faith, ancient communion with you.

Watch over us as we go, I pray, over our families at home, and our nation.

Whatever it is that you’ve brought us here for, help us to be in the moment who and what you’d have us to be.

You are good, Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit.  You are good ALL THE TIME.  In every age, in every day.  Let the fruit of this day belong to YOU.

I give you glory and honor and praise always, in Jesus’ name.

I’m writing while the others get ready to pack up.  I’m ready and raring to go on our next adventure!

So far TWO things stand out… the School of Falconry (for obvious reasons 🙂  ), and the Castle ruins the first day at Cashel.  It was the  place where the High Kings of Ireland ruled for centuries.  WE stood in tht place among that stories thate were there, the air that was there when the High Kings were made and High Kings fell; where daughters were given in marriages like gambling chips; where battle plans were drawn and enemy forces gathered.  We walked on the same earth, passed bneath the arches of the High Kings of Ireland – where the history of the world was saved, books and art gathered to be spared from the torch.

We touched the very stones of time where other fingers grazed and footsteps fell… and just for a moment, time intersected and I stood there, a stranger, a future visitor among the Kings and Queeens with ther great big dogs, clamouring children, and the sounds of leather creaking on horse harnesses.  🙂  My secret and yours, Lord – for now.  THANK YOU for that glimpse of time passed.

We are leaving this cottage.  Todays stops will be in Westport for lunch at the Olive Tree, and we’ll be staying at Castleview Bed and Breakfast.  We plan to visit Sligo Abbey.  We have a bit of free time, then will have dinner in Sligo.

***

IMG_6368Out new Bed and Breakfast is Castleview – and YES! there is a castle in view!  🙂  It is on the edge of the lake and can be seen from the front of the parking area.  Gorgeous!  It reflects the sunshine/clouds or whatever combination the weather happens to be.

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Our hostess is Abigail  (name changed), and such a lovely, friendly version of the Irish people.  She told wonderful stories while she served us hot tea and biscuits (cookies).  A very sad story was about the death of her daughter brought on by bullying and the use of social media to torment her.  Out of her death came a trial, social awareness of the bullying problem, and a movement to change such things.

Her daughter’s grave is covered in small gifts from her classmates.

Abigail said she had grieved so much for her beloved child, that one day her daughter spoke to her.  She asked her daughter if there was anything she wanted, and she told her that she wished her dog could be with her.  The dog got sick shortly after and was suffering terribly.  Abigail said she told the dog to go to her departed daughter and the dog breathed her last breath that easily and died.

The other great story was about her boyfriend telling her to get all dolled up.  So, she had her make-up and hair done because they were going somewhere special.  She thought he was taking her to Ashford Castle for dinner in the dining room  BUT he told her to bring the dog.  This made no sense to take the dog on a dress up date two hours away.  She was getting more and more confused and frustrated.

His big surprise was that he was taking her for a SEA WRAP – NOT a fancy dinner at the castle.  And there she was all dressed up, hair and make-up done.  Once he realized his mistake, he made it up to her the next day, put the dog in a kennel while they had supper at Ashford Castle.  :

Irish men apparently have about as much of a clue as American men in some areas!  🙂

IMG_6373  IMG_6430 (2)        IMG_6395Abigail suggested we visit the Abbey of Creevelea instead of the Abbey  of Sligo (which Coty had planned.)  It was a great choice – off the beaten path.  No other people were there except us.  We could wanddr about at will and check out the ruins freely.  There was a fresh grave in the graveyard, and all were well taken care of.  Even the ruins are beautiful.

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We ate at Sligo.  I had bangers and mash, just because I had always heard of this dish.  BLUCK!  Sausage on mashed potatoes covered with onion gravy.  BLUCK!

We have a peat fire in the fireplace.  What a beautiful house!  We met Agnes, another young woman who cleans, and J.J. the owner.

I love the people in our tour group.  Coty has put so much time, thought, and effort into making these arrangements for us, it is truly incredible.  He is an amazing young man.  He doesn’t realize yet that this was a divine set up – not just for him leading a tour, but because God was making a connection between us all for purposes yet untold.  Karen is quiet, but oh, the waters surging inside of her are deep!  Sandy is an amazing travel companion and we get along splendidly, as if we have been close friends forever.  Jen is young and beautiful, and works for FEMA.  She is full of travel and adventure.

Abigail  told us more of her daughter’s story – rape, humiliation through social media, bullying, and in the end she took her own life.  Father, please touch this precious lady and comfort her heart.  Soothe her wounded spirit.  Speak to her soul and drw her unto Yourself, in Jesus’ name.  Help us to help her heal, and point her toward Yourself, who redeems and loves the broken.

Thank you, Father for the lessons you are teaching us.  Thank you for directing our paths.  Thank you for arranging appointments for us along the way within our scheduled appointments.

The owner of the B&B, J.J. is running a festival currently – the Wild Atlantic Way Matchmaking Festival.

SERIOUSLY!

This is real.  They have Matchmaking Festivals here in different places that run for a week at a time. They said it is mostly farmers looking for wives and single women from all around the world are looking for husbands.  For real!

Others are staying here in this LARGE and lovely B & B.  There was a group of Finnish boys, a guy from Australia, and a couple from Germany… and our little group from USA.

The World comes to Ireland in search of ancestral roots!  Amazing!  I truly hadn’t realized that the Irish scattered across the face of the earth when the famine and hardships came.

 

 

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Visions and Shakings – Sept. 23, 2015

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Some visions are far more elaborate then others.  Yet a single image can be a powerful thing.  I had the following vision last Wednesday night, September 16, during church.  I saw a gigantic black hole shaped like a marquise cut diamond.  Marquise Diamond Shape except it was black and seemed to grow blacker and blacker at the depth of the center.

Into this blackness a white torpedo was being dropped.  It was quite vivid, but the only words I heard were “Into the heart of darkness.”

The vision occurred in a time of very sweet worship.

I am not sure what it means precisely, but I think our praise and worship has that effect – like a torpedo of light and love that shatters the powers of darkness.

As for the shakings, I often feel a shaking in my body – like a vibration running through me – before a big earthquake somewhere in the earth. Sometimes it comes in waves and there will be multiple small earthquakes back to back someplace like California.  Today, I was standing on my front porch and I felt the shaking beneath my feet through the porch, up through my legs, into my body, a groan, then a sudden stop.  It felt like something in the earth shifted, but suddenly came to a dead stop.  A tectonic plate groaning under the build up of pressure?  I don’t know.

I’ve been watching the news the rest of the day to see if there has been a significant seismic event in the earth.  As of right now, nothing has been reported today.  It was almost like a trap door slamming shut, or perhaps breaking open under a strain.

I’d like to think it was a build up of prayers from the USA suddenly bringing a halt to this run away train our nation is riding.

Not logical, I know.  But neither are visions and dreams.  We’ll see what another day brings forth.

 

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Ireland, Sept. 24,2014 – Day 5 – Kylemore Abbey, Gothic Cathedral and Walled Gardens

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Today’s plan is to visit the Abbey at Kylemore with its walled gardens and Gothic Cathedral.

Lunch is scheduled at the Kylemore Café.  From there we go on to the Clifton Arts Festival and will have dinner in Clifton.

We are leaving a little later this morning.  Did laundry, repacking clean clothes.  🙂  It is a gorgeous day out for another adventure.

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Kylemore Abbey was gorgeous.  The grounds were fabulous.  The Gothic cathedral was an architectural and artistic wonder.

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The gardens were colorful, well designed, and immaculately kept.

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I loved the DOORS of the Cathedral.  I’ve never seen anything like them before.

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It was truly beautiful.  I felt bad for always being the one behind and them waiting for me to catch up, but I was truly doing the very best I could.  My body is screaming at me.  Joint pain and weariness.

**  I bought some souvenirs at the Far at Clifton.  It has been a long and beautiful day, but the walk from the parking lot up to the Abbey and round about on concrete and back down to the  parking lot really got to my knees and hips today.

We ate at Eddie’s for dinner.

My second camera messed up.  The SD card just quit working.  ???  Still have one left.

Can’t help questioning the big picture of why I am here.  I am surely enjoying it and like all of our group:  Coty, Sandy, Karen, and Jen.  They are interesting, good people.

We are all on the exhausted side of today and ready for early bed.  Lot’s of good pictures today (I hope) before the SD card stopped working.  I have several others.

Thank you Holy Father God for this incredible opportunity to be here.  Thank you for your love and kindness toward me.  Thank you for loving me, for giving Your Son to die in my place.  How can you love us so?  How CAN  you love us so?

My heart is in your hands, Lord.  Do with me as YOU will.  Let my life bring you glory in all that I am, in all that I do.  I want my days to impact others for Your kingdom – ALWAYS.

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Ireland, Sept. 23, 2014 Day 4 – Village of Cong, Ashford Castle, and School of Falconry – Sept. 2014

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IMG_5884 The cottage where we are staying, Clonburn, is beautiful.  It is very secluded, but modern.  It overlooks a lake.  The roads are narrow and mostly graveled.  Hedgerows full of blackberries grow on both sides of the road before entering the gate to our cottage.  It looks straight out of a picture book.  I can imagine living here and being content for the rest of my life if I was surrounded by loved ones and had a job!

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DSCN5217 (2)Today we visited the Royal Abbey of Cong, which is under repair with every stone numbered to be replaced precisely.  It is a beautiful ruins with lots of arches in tact.  It seems to me to be in pretty good shape considering the age.

 

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The forest beyond was beautiful.  The earth tread softly underfoot and felt like a layer of ancient living things.

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Some trees must have been 400-500 years old.  They were massive things with branches hanging down to the ground.  I got a couple of good shots of fall leaves and open arches. There is something to photograph in every direction at any given moment of the day!  I’m thankful I had a spare camera with the other one broken and unrepairable on the first day.

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Everything here is familiar, but still different than anything at home.  It is hard to put into words.  It is like that old saying that “some things are better felt than told.”

We stopped in a woolen shop where I bought gifts.  Cong is the location for the filming of one of my all time favorite movies – The Quiet Man – starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.  Some in the group have never seen it or heard of it!!  Maybe this shows my age.  🙂

From there we went on to Ashford Castle and the School of Falconry to fly falcons.  Yes, we did!

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Before our appointment to go in to the School of Falconry, we passed a cottage with a sign over the door “Squire Danagher”.  This was a major character in the Quiet Man movie.  A lovely lady came out who turned out to be the daughter of the real Squire Danagher in the movie.  She said her family had lived there for hundreds of years in the same house.  I believe she said she was the 6th generation to live there.  She invited us inside and the front room was filled with memorabilia from the movie.  John Wayne had made a gift of the leather suitcase he carried into town in the movie to her father, Squire Danagher.  It had a place of honor on a shelf.  The table and china used in a famous scene from the movie were there also.  She had many photographs of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara during the filming.  She was a little girl at the time who appeared in the movie!

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At age 92 Maureen O’Hara came back (2 years ago) to visit this lady’s mother who was the woman of the house while they were filming.  She passed away 17 months ago.  This dear lady said that Maureen O’Hara was lovely and always very kind to the people of the village during the filming.  DSCN5307

She said John Wayne was also a gentleman, very kind and respectful to the local people.  They were both dearly loved by the community.  Meeting this lady was not on anyone’s schedule.  Getting a personal tour from her was a total surprise.  She was precious!  It was hard to leave her to go on to the appointment to fly falcons.

What an amazing experience and once in a lifetime thrill!  It felt like we were living an ancient experience.  Jen and I got to walk out with the first birds and to the first release and returns.  The birds knew what they were doing.  We just had to follow the rules.  We had to wear leather gloves from finger tips to elbows (and they stunk!).  DSCN5353  IMG_6123  IMG_6177

We made our way into and through an old section of forest, changing out gloves and people flying the falcons.  It was awesome!  There are not words enough to describe the beauty, the majesty, or the wonder of flying a falcon.

IMG_6091My falcon’s name was Wilde.  The other one was Aarik.  The keeper who went with us was very good, patient, informative, personable, and had a lovely accent.  He knew what he was about, understood the falcons, and was great with us. IMG_6118

 

Carrying that incredible creature on my arm and having it take flight and return at my signal was crazy good!  I can’t believe we got to do this.  What a great addition to this experience.  I can’t imagine anything more memorable!  The time passed too quickly.

IMG_6054  Leaving the castle, I recognized different things that were in the movie, The Quiet Man, like the bridge, the stream, a field or two.  There is a movement to save the cottage that was used as John Wayne’s home in the movie.

We stopped to take pictures of the Quiet Man statues in the village before returning to the cottage for lunch.   IMG_5999     DSCN5430

Coty had the movie waiting for the group, The Quiet Man.  What a nice surprise!  He has put so much thought into this trip and adding special little touches along the way.

We stayed in and had a bit of a rest before getting dressed for dinner in Galway and the musical/dance show, Trad on the Pom  (Original Celtic Music and Irish Dance.)

We had a full day before we returned home to the cottage.  It was altogether an amaing, memorable, incredible day.  She skies are so clear with a million stars out.  I saw a shooting star!  Make a wish?  My wish is already coming true – just being here.

DSCN5174  I’ve taken so many photos.  I’ll be sorting and cropping photos for ages when I get home!  I’ll have something to do this winter when the snow comes!  I hope I got some good shots today of other people flying their falcons, and maybe someone snapped one of me – I hope.  It’s not like that experience will ever present itself again in my lifetime!

There are some differences here like – No light switches or plug-ins inside the bathrooms.  – No lights over the mirror in the bathroom.  No mirror in the bedrooms.  – Plug in shape is different and needs and adapter. – There is an on/off switch for each individual outlet.  They are huge on conserving energy since 75% of Ireland is heated by peat.  Pretty cool.

Praying for Ireland, for revival, for the people, and the land, and EVERY day, thanking God for being here, for His love and mercy, and for making my dream come true.  This trip is HIS gift of love to me.

 

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Ireland, September 22, 2014 Day 3 – The Burren -September, 2014

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DSCN5132  The Burren National Park is a long rocky stretch of land in County Clare.  Burren means “barren.”  It appears desolate, looking like some ancient volcanic wasteland at the edge of the sea.  Perhaps it has been under water in the distant past.  In spite of this hateful terrain there is grass growing, moss, and wildflowers blooming.  Coty says it is thick with wildflowers in spring.

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When the English took over Ireland, the King took the land from its people to give to his rich Lords and political cronies.  They pushed the Irish to the edge of the sea and onto this barren land.  Between the potato famine and the English take over millions died or left to keep from perishing.  They migrated to America, Australia, and other places.  What sad memories this place holds.

IMG_5874  We sat on the rocky crags looking out to sea, listening to the waves with the wind blowing over us.  We didn’t speak, really.  It was time for thought, for sorrow, for images of all the Irish lost, for compassion and awe for all of our forebears and the struggles they faced.

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Imagine: – Leaving their families behind, never to be seen again. IMG_5858 – Afraid and desperate.  – Brave beyond words. – Indentured servants.  – Laborers.  – Determined to survive.

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The weight of the place washed over us in reverence.

Finally back to the car, we traveled on to Galway and spent a couple of hours in town.  Traffic is WILD!  I sure am glad Coty is driving and NOT one of us!

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The roads are so narrow they scare ME, who is used to narrow roads and mountain paths big enough for one car.  There are stone walls everywhere, briars and hedges lining both sides of the road.  Passing a bus means that the briars hit the side of the van when we pull over.  (The briars, by the way, are loaded with blackberries… in September!)

After we left the 10 mile expanse of the Burren, we came into beautiful country with green grass, rivers, fields, and lakes.  It was the strangest contrast to know what the Burren looked like and be in such vastly different landscape in minutes.  This is the land confiscated from the Irish people so that those favored by the  king could graze their fatted calves and sheep could while a few miles away good people starved among the rocks.  I had never considered genocide among the Irish until the Burren.

DSCN5122As different as could be was the green horizon compared to the rocky land we left behind.

IMG_6206I am amazed to see so many sheep grazing in pastures beside of the road, on hillsides, and pretty much all over the  place!

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We stopped at a lake with a sandy beach on our way to our lodging for the night.  I could take a thousand pictures a day.  This land is filled with beauty.  No wonder those who come to visit want to return!

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I didn’t expect to see so many streams, creeks, and lakes inland.  The water is beautiful and inviting.

I had hoped to see fields of heather blooming.  It is the wrong season, but I feel blessed that there is a bit of heather here and there for me to discover and document with my camera.

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Coty made dinner.  Potato soup, garlic bread, apple cider, with chocolate mouse for desert.  The cottage is very modern, very roomy, and comfortable.

We are beginning to build relationships all the way around.  I did laundry in the machine and some by hand.

Tomorrow promises to be another amazing day at the Ashford Castle and School of Falconry.  YAY!  Imagine flying a real live falcon!

 

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