Friday, July 29, 2011

Exploring the Glens

We came home from our trip a day early since Lovely had to go to work a bit earlier than we first expected.  It was a fantastic journey and as always it brought peace to us.  I love our state so very much.  I may gripe about the cold winters but all in all I’d never want to live elsewhere.  We did get to see a bear about two hundred yards from our cabin.  It was a very large black bear that was happily munching on something.  We watched it for about fifteen minutes and then it meandered off over the hill it had been sitting on.  I got nearly 100 pictures which I will begin to share once I finish my series on Ireland.  We are only going to be home for a week then be off to a new cabin that we’ve never seen and be gone once again for five days.  I hope to get even more pictures from that and share them too.  We are rapidly approaching our trip to the Philippines.  We will not see fall this year since we’ll be there in the tropics for two months…unlike many that have had terrible heat and humidity we have had a very pleasant summer…fall has nothing for me really and winter certainly doesn’t. 


Ireland is a place of mystery and history.  This time we explored much more of the countryside and that filled us all with wonder.  Actually it could really remind me of sights I’ve seen in Oregon.  I often find myself drawn to Macro mode on my camera.  I’m not a very technical photographer…I love angles that are interesting to me and shots that somehow speak to me.  Sometimes it strikes a chord in my own heartother times it just seems beautiful to me for reasons I cannot explain.  I am not at all interested in bragging rights for any picture.  Rather I love to share the experience and let people feel what they may from viewing these pictures.  Nothing could thrill me more than hearing someone say that they feel they are there when seeing these pictures.  I desire to share these experiences with any that are interested.  I want it to reach out so much that you can hear the sheep bleatand imagine looking on these things with your own eyes .  Can you feel the sense of familiarity yet at the same time wonder?  That’s what I felt when seeing these things.  Most of all I feel a sense of gratitude to God for letting me see these things with those I love the most.  I’m a simple person involved in God’s great plan.  Do you know you too are part of something bigger than yourself?  Thing in this life deceive and try to convince you that you’re alone and don’t matter but this is not true.  You are living because of divine providence.  Work in the field of life you find yourself in.  Remember that the greatest struggles life brings are all about your faith and you are not alone in this struggle.  We may live in different places and be going through things that are different on the surface but underneath it all we are together in this war over our faith.  May you continue to bear good fruit through the struggles you endureand may that fruit ever be pleasing to God.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Festus and the Power of Prayer

I think that one of the most amazing things in my life has been the privileges that God has brought my way in the wonderful people I’ve been able to meet.  One such person is a man whom I certainly consider my brother.  He is Nigerian and a tremendous prayer warrior.  There are times when I’ve met people like him and felt so blessed that I can hardly believe it.  Africans have played an immense role in my life and a source or tremendous blessing.  If I had not been a part of our church now I’d have never even met these people much less had the honor of calling them my friends and having them pray life changing prayers over my family and I.  Festus is a man exceptional in a sea of amazing people that I’ve known over the years.  He and his wife and children are amazing.  May God bless them richly!  His daughter Joy took a little time to begin to warm up to us however I have great hope for her and the children of these men and women of God.  Generation next must have someone to put faith in them and keep the door to the kingdom of God open…they are the future.


Bringing my family abroad always brings this commitment to mind.  I want to invest in my children and have them meet the amazing people I’ve grown to know and love.  One day I was walking with my youngest daughter in this amazing pasture.  Spending time with my children in places like this has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever been able to do.  It’s not all about church meetings.  Sometimes time to just talk to them and walk through the streets of a place so far from what’s familiar is the most priceless treasure ever.  I talk to them about spiritual things and just walk and talk with them.  They learn botany by looking at different plants all over the world .  The wonders of God in nature are a delight we enjoy together.  Seeing this with dear friends and family is a salve to the souland it opens us up to each other to communicate on a very high level…this is what makes us grow strong as a family.  The vital component of God in relationship has born great fruit and I’m eternally thankful for it .  The Tain Way and its marvels left us with our breath taken away at times.  It’s not just the land it’s the awareness of God who after all made all this.  Beyond the economic disaster corrupt government has causedbeyond the disasters and suffering there is on this planet we find that we have only now and each other so we should do all we can with the moments we’ve been given…take nothing for granted…see beauty where you canand testify of every single thing you can see God is doing no matter if you audience understands it or not.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God so I do all I can to see and hear what He has to sayand be thankful for what I’ve got right in front of meknowing that the grateful moments we have today strengthen us for the challenges of tomorrow.  Look for the things to be blessed aboutor this could have been just another pasture and a gate and a rusty old horseshoe.  We don’t know what lies even one second ahead of usbut one thing is sure it’s a better thing to be thankful about what’s in front of us then refuse to see anything good no matter what there is out there.  Pondering these things we came to a glorious view of a rainbow…the very evidence of God’s promise.  Find the beautiful in the ordinary…you’ll never regret the change this brings to personal perspective!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Tain Way

Have you ever read the book that talks about 1,000 places you should see before you die?  I had it but can’t for the life of me remember where I put it.  The point is that one of the things I remember reading about in that book was the Tain Way.  When I first saw the sign for this in Ireland this time it immediately rang a bell in my head.  Seeing it with my own eyes and walking along it let me know exactly why it’s something everyone should see at least once.  Walking is one of my favorite past times anyway but add a spectacular scenery and you’ve got a wonderful concoction.  We have far more cows then sheep from what I’ve seen here in Montana so the sheep provided a nice break from what I am used tonot to mention the stone houses and hedgerows that were totally unique to me.  I love how walking along this path would often bring me to a break in the endless hedges to see scenes like this…it’s so very peaceful!  Many of the homes in this area appeared to be restored homes that were very beautiful.  The rolling hills in this area were far smaller than the mountains of our state but they still had a spectacular majesty about them.  The winding roads made me somewhat nervous in that an occasional car would come by leaving someone that was waling little place to go.  I love the white and yellow blossoms of the Irish countryside!  The constant rain and cool temperatures made life spring from the unlikeliest of places.  It could often be very cloudy but nothing could be more wonderful then seeing the sun break through and shine on the hillside!  I know that green, white and yellow seem to be the most prevalent colors but there were other colors in the mix too .  Even our house provided a place for vines to grow.  This is a side view of the house we rented.  It was called “the Swallows” and the owners were more than gracious…it’s a wonderful place!  This is the back door we used most often since the car was parked back here.  I don’t think I could ever get tired of walking this road.  This ram had the deepest voice I have ever heard!  This was what I always dreamed the Irish countryside would be!  This ram was anything but sheepish!  Is this Irish attitude or what?  The ladies of the harem where much nicer!  Sometimes I found myself waiting for a Hobbit to come out and greet me…doesn’t this look like the set for “The Lord of the Rings”?  I suppose you’ve heard of the black sheep of the family…well, here it is!  Oh how I love the Tain way!  It’s spectacular beauty will ever be in my heart.  I will never forget this place!  The steep climb of this walk was always worth the view.  Yes, they certainly do have cowsin fact they thought we were the weird ones.  Gabby tried very hard to make friendsbut the three stooges wouldn’t moooove!  They certainly know how to relax don’t they?  After seeing scenes like this I felt more than just relaxed, I felt the peace of God so strongly.  The flowers know no discrimination!  Stay tuned!  Next week I’ll be showing the other side of the Tain Way.  We will be leaving town for a few days for a wedding my wife is photographing.  Six hours away but it should be a nice break from the usual.  We then have some camping trips to look forward to.  After the bear attacks I’m very glad we will be in a cabin and not hiking deep into the forest but for sure I’ll be getting some new pictures!  God bless you all, have a wonderful week!