Treacherous Corkscrew Hill

This is post #8 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl, and

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

“I find that romance is for readers. I want adventures; they are for the living.” –Moryah DeMott, Timeless

Doolin Clare Hills
Doolin Clare Hills

Any time you step out and do something new and different, you’ll face anxiety or fear. Some of my fears about going to Ireland was about mine and our daughter Leah’s physical safety: terrorism or being the victim of a crime; getting sick from some disease; one of the planes crashing (I actually love flying, but this is always possible); and my biggest fear was me learning to drive on the left side of the road, in the right front seat–and possibly having to drive in hard rain, because it rains a LOT in Ireland! (I dislike driving in rain or bad weather!)

I conquered all these fears traveling to Ireland, but one of the scariest times we had there was driving up Corkscrew Hill to our B & B near Doolin.

Although they are called “Clare Hills,” they are really more like mountains. And even worst, it began to rain as we drove up the steep, treacherous hills!

Driving through mountains in Ireland
Driving through mountains in Ireland

When we arrived at our B & B later, the owner Mary told me that they do have “driving rains” in the hills, so bad that you can hardly see out the windshield as you’re driving. I was thankful that it was not raining hard like that, although it was still stressful driving on the winding roads in the rain.

Doolin fields
Doolin fields

The speed limit often read 100 km ( about 62 mph). There was NO way I was driving that fast in the mountains! Cars were whipping fast around the curves, appearing suddenly and freaking me out. I gripped the steering wheel tightly and prayed.

Leah was telling me to not drive TOO slow, as that was dangerous, too (especially for cars behind us). But I kept my speed between 40 to 60 km! I was being extra careful, as I did not want to wreck our rental car!

When the GPS showed that we were within five miles of the B & B, I stopped in a little town for us to use the restroom–and for us to enjoy an ice cream cone. I’d watched videos of Ireland before traveling over there, and had heard that the ice cream cones were delicious–and they are! They have square pieces of chocolate in them.

Ireland's delicious ice cream cone
Ireland’s delicious ice cream cone

Leah wanted to know how I could “spot” stores so fast that had ice cream. I told her about the big, plastic ice cream cone signs outside the stores.

plastic cone sign
plastic cone sign

I was stressed out from having to drive in the rain up the winding mountain roads, and just wanted to get to the safe B & B, so I hurriedly ate my ice cream cone (the word “gobble” comes to mind!). To my chagrin, Leah seemed to be taking her sweet time, slowly licking her ice cream cone. When I urged her to hurry, she told me she was not going to rush through eating it.

Looking back now, this is extremely funny to me and I laugh about it. When Leah said this, I immediately felt convicted by God for trying to hurry her. I needed to just slow down and savor this surreal moment of being in Ireland with our precious daughter as she enjoyed her ice cream. I calmed down and waited, as we sat on a bench outside the store and she ate her cone.

When we arrived at the B & B, we saw that the owner had two beautiful, brown horses in a pasture. Leah is an animal lover and one of them came to her right away.

Beautiful horse that came right away to Leah
Beautiful horse that came right away to Leah

 

Leah and the horse near Doolin
Leah and the horse near Doolin

All the hostesses of the B & B’s in Ireland were so nice, but this B & B’s owner, Mary, was mine and Leah’s favorite. (Riverdale Farmhouse near Doolin) She had a true gift of hospitality and made us feel so welcome to Ireland. As usual, there were gorgeous roses outside. Roses, flowers, trees, and grass thrive in Ireland due to how often it rains.

Riverdale B & B, Doolin
Riverdale B & B, Doolin

When we arrived, Mary had hot tea and cookies ready for us, which was such a blessing after the long, stressful drive there. The B & B owners serve the tea in fine china cups. Many of them also had these beautiful, antique glass bottles to keep drinking water in for their guests.

Tea and cookies
Tea and cookies

Later that evening, Leah and I also tried her chai that she bought at a pharmacy in Galway, when I purchased a natural sleep aid there similar to Melatonin (I had trouble sleeping in Galway). I had saved my Biscott cookies from our international plane flight, so we ate those with the chai. Leah and I decided that we would keep the relaxing habit of afternoon tea when we flew back home to the states.

I was so proud of Leah for doing her college homework each night while we traveled in Ireland! She made an A in this class, and is now taking her third course in her graphic arts college program. The natural sleep aid knocked me right out, and I slept great here!

Enjoying Leah's chai
Enjoying Leah’s chai

One of the things I was very impressed about with the B & B’s in Ireland is how neat and spotlessly clean they are. While I no longer have old-fashioned taste (Victorian, antique furniture), the B & B’s are pretty and the beds are comfortable. I booked one room with two single beds at each B & B, although this room had a queen-size bed and a single bed. I feel the advantage to B & B’s versus hotels is that there is generally more privacy and they are less expensive. 

The B & B's in Ireland are neat and very clean
The B & B’s in Ireland are neat and very clean

 

Mirrored dresser
Mirrored dresser

 

Pretty floral light at B & B--I thought our daughter Heather would like this.
Pretty floral light at B & B–I thought our daughter Heather would like this. She loves flowers, and her name is that of a purple-blue flower.

I was very tired that night and really didn’t even want supper, nor did I want to face driving in the mountains in the rain, but Leah did want something to eat. Mary told us about pubs in Doolin, only about 2 km, so we went to one. Leah ordered a sweet potato soup that came with soda bread, and I ordered a tuna salad, that came with a different type of bread. The portions were huge!

I was disappointed that Leah and I never heard a live band playing at one of the Irish pubs…maybe next time we go! The pub looked typical: a group of men sitting around talking, watching sports on TV, and drinking a Guinness beer. (Guinness beer is made in Ireland and you can tour the famous factory in Dublin. Leah and I never tried one while there.) The men gave us some odd looks when we came in and just ordered food! Guess we weren’t their typical pub crowd!

Leah's sweet potato soup
Leah’s sweet potato soup

 

bread at the Doolin Pub
bread at the Doolin Pub

 

tuna salad at pub
tuna salad at pub

Mary made an amazing full Irish breakfast for us the next morning, but Leah requested just fresh fruit and yogurt (she feels the full breakfast is a little much!). A full Irish breakfast generally consists of an egg, bacon (which is really more like the US version of ham), sausage, fresh fruit and yogurt, baked tomatoes, mushrooms, and some type of bread and/or scones with jam. The fresh orange and grapefruit juice were delicious!

fresh fruit juice
fresh fruit juice

I really enjoyed our stay at this B & B. Mary gave us directions to reduce a lot of driving time to the Killarney National Park, by us taking the ferry. This was the first time that Leah had ever gone on a ferry and she thought it was interesting. In my next post in this Ireland Blog Series, I’ll share pics with you of the ferry ride–and the beautiful Torc Waterfall in the national park, which was one of the things I really wanted to see in Ireland!

Doolin stone bridge
Doolin stone bridge
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Galway Girl

This is post #6 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village, and

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher.

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

“Your feet will bring you where your heart is.”–Irish Proverb

beach in Galway, Ireland
beach in Galway, Ireland

One of my favorite romantic “chic flics” is PS: I Love You, starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. Shortly after Gerry (Gerald) first meets Holly (Hillary), he plays his guitar in a bar and sings to her the fun Irish song Galway Girl.

Gerry & Holly in PS: I Love You
Gerry & Holly in PS: I Love You

I love the song and I couldn’t wait to go to Galway on my and Leah’s first trip to Ireland. I just had a feeling it would be a fun place, and it was! Galway was Leah’s and my favorite city in Ireland!

Leah, being a violinist, loved all the street musicians. We are definitely a “Galway Girl”!

One young man played the guitar in the town center and he was amazing. We stood and listened for awhile. He reminded me of the musical prodigy in the movie August Rush.

Galway guitarist
Galway guitarist

Unfortunately, when Leah came home and tried to transfer her pics and videos to her computer, she lost all her street musician videos! She was so frustrated with herself (thank goodness, she didn’t lose her photos! She took over 600!). I told her we’ll just have to go back so she can video them again. We both want to return to gorgeous Ireland!

We stayed at the lovely Abbeyville B & B in Freeport Barna, Co. Galway, owned by Bernadette, who is an artist. I deliberately chose this B & B, as our daughter Leah is an amazing, self-taught artist. All the B & B’s we stayed at in Ireland were very clean and neat, which I loved and was so thankful for!

wall art
wall art

 

art from B & B owner in Galway
art from B & B owner in Galway

 

Abbeyville B & B, Galway
Abbeyville B & B, Galway

 

Abbeyville bathroom
Abbeyville bathroom

When Leah was three years old, she would lay on her tummy and color and draw with crayons. When she was older, my husband Ray bought her a graphic art tablet. I homeschooled her throughout the twelve years of her education, and Leah honed her craft and now is enrolled in a digital art, online college program to achieve her Bachelor’s degree.

Leah enjoyed talking with the owner Bernadette about her art, some of which she has displayed locally. I believe this was a Divine appointment from God, as Bernadette encouraged Leah to pursue her art interest and to display and sell it online! Leah does have her own online store here.

Driveway at Abbeyville
Driveway at Abbeyville

One unique technique that Bernadette enjoys painting with is melted bee’s wax. She showed us some of her projects, and they were beautiful, textured with vibrant colors. 

I was so proud of Leah doing her classwork even as we were vacationing in Ireland! While she worked on her homework, I sat outside at a glass patio table. I admired the gorgeous blooming flowers and the lush, green plant life and trees everywhere, journaled, and created my first video in Ireland. I’ll upload it later and add the link here! It felt surreal to be in Ireland!

Beautiful fresh flowers
Beautiful fresh flowers

 

Journaling outside
Journaling outside

All the B & B’s provided coffee pots/tea makers in the room. Leah made us tea, with our cookies. One way we saved money in Ireland was to buy groceries sometimes, instead of eating out at restaurants.

At the grocery store, Leah bought a sandwich, sour cream and onion potato chips, and a chocolate mint bar, and I got a salad, salt and vinegar potato chips, and a Galaxy chocolate bar, which was delicious Irish chocolate!

Pubs are often more reasonably priced than the restaurants, so we frequently ate lunch at the pubs. This was fun. You’ll find pubs in almost every town, even the remote places. Some of the pubs play live music. They all offer alcohol, including the infamous Guinness beer (which neither Leah or I tried! I hate beer!)

The King’s Head is a famous, 800-year-old historic pub in Ireland.  It is supposedly the building given as payment to Richard Gunning for beheading King Charles I. No, we didn’t eat there!

The King's Head pub
The King’s Head pub

 

Deli/grocery
Deli/grocery

 

Chips and chocolate
Chips and chocolate

Bernadette served a wonderful, full Irish breakfast, which included delicious home-made scones with jam. Leah and I enjoyed having a French press coffee maker just for us at our table.

Fresh fruit & yogurt
Fresh fruit & yogurt

 

French press coffee maker
French press coffee maker

Bernadette was such a friendly, welcoming hostess. She encouraged us to go view the Atlantic Ocean on Salthill Promenade. I’d already read before coming to Ireland that parking was a big problem, especially in big cities, but on this busy street there is free parking on the side of the road! 

The Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean

 

Galway beach
Galway beach

 

The Atlantic, Galway
The Atlantic, Galway

It was overcast and windy, and it began to sprinkle, so the cute, comfortable, and practical raincoats I’d bought me and Leah came in handy that day. I found my blue, gently used one for only $7.99 at a thrift store and got Leah’s navy blue one on sale at Amazon. We got some great pics of each other by the ocean. It was very peaceful there.

The Atlantic Ocean beach
The Atlantic Ocean beach

 

big rocks on Galway beach
big rocks on Galway beach

Leah couldn’t believe that people were actually swimming in the water and said the water must be cold. 

In the pic below, you can see a swimmer behind me in the water, staring at the camera. Leah gets upset with me for taking photos of random people, but they often make the best pics!

In the other pic, I love how the woman’s sneakers made footprints on the wet sand as she walked. It reminds me of the poem Footprints.

Swimmer in ocean
Swimmer in ocean

 

Leah at beach in Galway in her rain jacket
Leah at beach in Galway in her rain jacket

 

me in my blue rain jacket in Galway on the beach
me in my blue rain jacket in Galway on the beach

 

Random woman walking on the beach in Galway
Random woman walking on the beach in Galway

I thought these pictures of Leah looking out at the Atlantic Ocean were poignant and powerful. She also took one of me, without me knowing about it. 

Leah looking out at the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland
Leah looking out at the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland

 

Leah looking at the ocean on Salthill Promenade
Leah looking at the ocean on Salthill Promenade

 

Leah walking on the beach
Leah walking on the beach

 

me looking out at Atlantic ocean in Galway
me looking out at Atlantic ocean in Galway

The beach is my place of peace and refilling. Leah liked the seagulls on the beach; she loves any kind of animal.

The ocean is my place of peace.
The ocean is my place of peace.

 

seagull on Galway beach
seagull on Galway beach

Leah and I saw a telescope on the sidewalk and looked through it to see a ship and an island across the ocean, which had houses. The telescope cost a couple of Euros coins, like parking does in most places. 

Leah putting Euro coins in telescope
Leah putting Euro coins in telescope

 

Leah looking through telescope
Leah looking through telescope

We ate a delicious sidewalk cafe in Galway called The Quay Street Kitchen that I’d read great reviews about, where Leah tried her first Irish fish and chips (she liked it). This was one of the funnest, most peaceful times we had there, eating delicious food and people-watching in Galway.

Our waiter was brand new, and did a fabulous job waiting on us. At the table right next to us, a young couple dined together. In the background on the sidewalks Irish music played, which Leah noted. 

It again felt surreal, to be eating at an outdoor cafe in Ireland! I felt so happy sitting there with my sweet, beautiful daughter Leah. God is so good!

The Quay Street Kitchen
The Quay Street Kitchen

When I visit Ireland again (I am praying to go back!), I would love to stay in Galway several days. I wanted to stay in Galway much longer, but it was beginning to rain so Leah suggested that we leave to drive to our next B & B.

In my next post in this Ireland blog series, I’ll share more about Galway’s town center.

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My speaking event to preschool teachers: This year, PRAY!

Me & event planner, Kathy Moxley
Me & event planner, Kathy Moxley

Recently I had the honor of being asked to speak to a group of preschool teachers in Independence, Missouri.

While usually I give my personal testimony or share about the fairy tale of Cinderella and her unique glass slippers, as I prayed about this event, I felt led by God to speak on the power of prayer and faith in Jesus Christ for this coming school year. 

stained glass windows
stained glass windows

Kathy was amazing and the ladies were so sweet! The event was in a quaint, lovely chapel at Christ United Methodist Church with beautiful stained glass windows. I love stained glass windows, and my book about our turbulent, 25-year marriage has a cover with a picture of stained glass on it here. Making stained glass windows is becoming a lost art.

What I love about them, besides their colorful beauty, is that each one tells a story, usually about Jesus or other figures of the Bible. The practice of stained glass for decorative purposes dates back to ancient Rome. Evidence of stained glass windows in churches and monasteries in Britain can be found as early as the 7th century.

Augsburg Cathedral stained glass window
Augsburg Cathedral stained glass window

The oldest known stained glass window is the Romanesque church in Augsburg, Germany, in the heart of Bavaria. It has portraits of Moses, Daniel, and other Biblical figures. Medieval churches began to commission windows with religious figures and the royalty of the period would request for windows bearing their coat of arms

I loved this stained glass window at the church where I spoke about prayer and how precious children are to God. It is of Jesus and the children, so it was quite fitting for my presentation!

Jesus & the children
Jesus & the children

This was so cool and confirmation to me from God that I was supposed to be there. I usually have visual aids when I speak, and I brought a statue I’d bought earlier this year of Jesus the Shepherd with two lambs, one in His arms and one right beside Him at His feet. It is a visual reminder to me to pray often for our children and that Jesus has them in His loving care. To my surprise and delight, the chapel had a picture very similar to this!

Jesus the Shepherd & His lambs
Jesus the Shepherd & His lambs

The beautiful glass was moved from prior Methodist churches in the area.

I often request a table beside the podium, when I speak, on which to place my water bottle and the visual aids. The chapel and this little, white, pretty table were just perfect for this event! I also placed a few of my books on the table. 

table
table

I emphasized to the preschool teachers how precious the children were, and also themselves (and to take time out for self-care!), and how important it is to pray every day, setting aside a few minutes at least to spend time with God: praying, reading the Bible, and in worship and praise. I based the teaching on my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale here for just 99 cents at Amazon.

Hopefully I encouraged them to choose “the best part” of their day, that Mary did, sitting at Jesus’ feet. (Luke 10:42)

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Afterward, of course, I treated myself to Mexican food to get my chips and salsa fix!

God's Glory Box came!
God’s Glory Box came!

Then when I arrived home, I had a wonderful surprise: the August 2018 subscription box from God’s Glory Box, with my book Walking With God in it, had arrived! I loved the other goodies in it, too: the green T-shirt, cross bracelet, stickers, and pretty mountain note cards.

Each month these subscription boxes have different Christian items in them, and they donate 5 meals per box! (Yes, I just signed up for this subscription box! I loved my first box and can’t wait to get more!)

August 2018 box with my book, Walking With God!
August 2018 box with my book, Walking With God!

I’m so honored and thankful to God that God’s Glory Box just shipped out 7,700 of my book across America. To Jesus Christ be all the glory, amen!

Dear friend, I want to encourage you this year to pray. God hears your prayers and answers. There is POWER in your prayers and faith in Jesus Christ! One attendee came up to me afterward to talk to me about her friend, who is a writer, wanting to publish her book. She told me and Kathy that at times, she felt as if God was speaking straight through me to hers and the other attendees’ hearts. I pray that this event bears much fruit for Christ, and leads the women into a deeper relationship with Jesus this year!

 “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”–Psalm 5:3

*******If you’d like me to speak at your women’s conference, retreat, or event, please contact me here at BethJones. I love encouraging others!

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