One thing that I know for sure: nothing happens without some kind of purpose. I just begun to share about the trip to Ireland but long before that trip was finished our eyes were on the next trip we have in mind. The Philippines is now looming closer than ever. Fortunately the trip to Ireland equipped for what’s to come, we could all feel that. We have had some very wild weather that seems to capitalize the spiritual struggle to maintain faith for this next great adventure. Not just one but two tornado touch downs were recorded as of Monday. I was outside watching the looming storm after Lovely and I had walked when I felt compelled to go get the children from the neighbor’s house where they were playing. I crossed the street just in time to hear the sirens begin to blare. Mom, Dad and I watched the clouds as Lovely brought the kids to the vault in our basement. During the constant lightning we witnessed the approaching funnel cloud. From inside we watched a lightning bolt exit from the bottom of the funnel…it was one of the most awesome yet terrifying things I’ve ever seen. It marked the one year anniversary of the tornado we had a year ago on Father’s day that caused a lot of destruction in our town…many roofs are still being repaired in fact…not to mention our town community center which was on high alert during this storm because they had a concert over there. Fortunately the funnel didn’t touch down here but it did elsewhere throwing a grain bin into an outbuilding and causing some damage there. Scary times!
Now we continue our regularly scheduled broadcast! Our refinished cottage in Ireland had some interesting iron rings near the gate. I posted this on FB and some of you have had some great ideas on what it could be. Anything from a old piece of the gate that may have been there before to something tie horses to. I felt both far away yet somehow like I was at home when gazing on the fields of Ireland this time. We have more cattle than sheep in these parts but still the pastoral fields felt very much like home. The sheep had a mild curiosity about us when we were looking right back at them. It made for a good photo opportunity. I always liked coming to an opening in the endless hedgerows to see the mountains beyond. Montana is the Big Sky country so I’m used to seeing for miles! The blossoms on the hedges were delightful but there were some nasty thorns in there too. The yellow gave me what the sun could not…minus the warmth of course. We had two paths that we walked for the most part and one of them had some wonderful flowers that reminded me so much of Blue Bells. Near the house there were some delightful blossoms to enjoy as well. Our little girl loved to explore the paths and see the sheep and horses but on occasion she actually stayed still so I could get her picture. I can’t stress enough what a joy the kids were on this trip. They just keep getting better! Not only are they a joy outside the meetings but serve so well during the church services…I’m very proud of them, they are the best mission team I’ve ever travelled with! Whenever mist covered this mountain you knew that a drenching was on the way! When we first arrived this pasture was empty but soon a mother and her two little ones became an every day delight. One of the things that I truly love about Ireland is that there are many old structures that are intermingled with the villages and cities. This little bridge looked very old and we crossed it every day coming and going from our little cottage. This is the view near the bridge as you look toward the cottage we stayed in. The Tain Way is a path that everyone should walk before they die. It went right by our house and we loved walking it whenever we could. This horse was at the turnoff near our cottage. She was very sweet and loved any attention we could offer her…this often consisted of apples and carrots. Sometimes we would walk the path beyond where the horse was and it took us to a wonderful countryside view. Our way back led us through an overgrown pathway that I felt had a rather slanted personality. These delicate blossoms looked rather sad when the rain continued for many days. The many vines and ferns that grew everywhere sometimes looked alien depending on what stage of growth they were in. There was a babbling brook that we crossed quite often. I never grew tired of the peaceful sound as it went lazily down the stream. You know you’re in a rainy country when you see grass growing on the top of fence posts! There were many birds happily singing and flitting from one branch to another all around us however I never saw them use this cute little birdhouse. Now I will close with some more of the interesting rings that were on so many of the old walls around there. Remember no matter how difficult the circumstance and its iron grip it only serves as a ring that you pass through when God’s grace intervenes on your behalf!