Don’t stop dreaming and my Kindle book on Ireland!

Our beautiful daughter Leah at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

When I realized this week how long it’d been since I blogged here at BethJones.net, I felt dismayed. I could give you a million excuses for why, but it boils down to the usual: I’ve been busy. Everyone is, though, right?

But here’s what has been happening in my life recently:

  • I went on a week-long trip to Ireland with our daughter Leah in September 2018;
  • I started a new part-time Administrative Assistant job in October 2018. I’m no longer there as of this week, as my season there has ended and God has new things for me to do now;
  • I flew to Georgia to visit my sister Maria and her family and to Florida to spend time with my friends Kim, Pat, and their kids at Christmas 2018;
  • Through a friend’s influence, I spoke and gave my testimony at a church;
  • I went back to Florida this year in the spring for several days, to visit Kim and her family and to enjoy a much-needed beach marathon (the ocean is my place of peace and refilling);
  • I wrote a Kindle eBook about Leah’s and my trip to Ireland with beautiful pics, which is now live on Amazon. You can get it here;
  • Right now I’m working on writing my first children’s book about Leah’s and my cats, Jax and Natalya! This is unfamiliar territory for me. For years Ray and Leah have been encouraging me to write a children’s book. I kept saying I didn’t know how, but now I finally am! As writers, we need to stretch and push ourselves, to hone our craft. We’ll see how it goes! I’m asking Leah, who is now taking college graphic design courses, to design the front cover. I pray she does; she’s an amazing artist! I’m excited about this new venture.

I’ve also been going through more intense spiritual warfare the last several years. Satan never seems to stop. Please say a prayer for me and my family. Christ has the victory, amen!

One thing I want to encourage you to do: Don’t stop dreaming!

God can make your biggest, most impossible dreams come true, as Leah and I are living proof from our trip to Ireland!

Let me know if you need prayer, too. I’ll be happy to pray for you! God is a mighty, prayer-answering God!

I’ll try to be more consistent blogging now! Let me know what topics interest YOU!

*******

Get my newest Kindle eBook at Amazon, with beautiful pics of the “Emerald Isle” Ireland. It’s about my and Leah’s exciting adventures, traveling there in 2018. 

Ireland, Soft Rains. Your big dreams CAN come true!

With fresh BONUS content–never-before released, short video clips that showcase Ireland’s beauty. Also, videos on My Best Travel Tips and funny stories about our time there!

Just $5.99! Find out more here.

Copyright 2019 Beth Jones
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Saint Mary’s Cathedral and stained glass windows: the beautiful pieces of our lives

This is post #15 and the final blog post 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,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee;

#13, Ladies View: A break for coffee and chocolate/;

#14, Kilkenny: A near wreck with a semi and a lesson inspired by Leah and a harpist.

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’m Irish not because I was born in Ireland, but because Ireland was born in me.”–Anonymous

I’m a speaker and writer, but words feel so inadequate to describe the beauty and mystery of Ireland. In my heart, I knew it was calling me and I had to go. It was such an amazing trip to take with my precious daughter Leah; we both can’t wait to go back!

As I wrap up this 15th and final blog post in this Ireland blog series, I want to share a few pics of one of the prettiest places we visited, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney. A Roman Catholic cathedral, it is massive and had gorgeous stained glass windows, which I love.

Built from 1842 and completed in 1855, its construction wasn’t continuous due to the Great Famine and lack of funds, so the work had to be stopped several times. This reminds me of how the work God is doing in our lives is continuous until He finally completes it, the Author and Finisher of our faith in Christ. Sin and many other things can stop His working in our hearts. 

Saint Mary's Cathedral
Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, Ireland

 

Stained glass, St. Mary's Cathedral
Stained glass, St. Mary’s Cathedral

The church is still in use today. I didn’t realize this and when Leah and I went to visit it, they were having Mass. We stood quietly at the back of the cathedral, admired its amazing beauty, and took a few pics.

altar, St. Mary's Cathedral
altar, St. Mary’s Cathedral

The architecture of the cathedral, both inside and outside, was amazing. The stonework is a mixture of brown and grey stone. Tragically, the grounds are a burial ground for dozens of children who died from starvation, and the monument was erected in their memory.

During the Mass, people light candles because God instructed His people in the Old Testament where an oil lamp was lit to “keep a flame burning perpetually” (Exodus 27:19-20); to show reverence for God and as a reminder that Jesus Christ is the source of all Light (John 8:12); to pray for people; to petition saints to pray for them (I don’t personally ascribe to that Catholic belief); and as the light is burning, to show a desire to remain in God’s presence as we go through our daily duties at home and in the workplace.

steeple, St. Mary's Cathedral
steeple, St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

People at Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral
People at Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

candles for lighting at St. Mary's Cathedral
candles for lighting at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

cross, St. Mary's Cathedral
cross, St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

arched door of St. Mary's Cathedral
arched door of St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

window at St. Mary's Cathedral
window at St. Mary’s Cathedral

 

Pretty window at St. Mary's
Pretty window at St. Mary’s

 

unique architecture of St. Mary's
unique architecture of St. Mary’s

I miss Ireland so much! I pray that Leah and I can go back one day soon. One of the famous sites that Leah really wanted to see was Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 basalt columns which are the result of a volcanic fissure eruption–very unique-looking! It was named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.

Giants' Causeway
Giants’ Causeway

And of course there is a legend associated with it, of an Irish giant fighting a Scottish giant!

I was going to do my best to get her there, even though it is in the far northern part of Ireland, which was opposite the direction we were driving to the B & B’s.

She finally decided that it was too long of a drive to get there (we were both getting tired toward the end of the trip), and that it’d cost too much. I told her we will see it next time we go!

From this incredible trip, I learned:

  • God can make your big dreams come true, and even exceed them!
  • Pray and keep praying–God hears the prayers of your heart!
  • Be led by the Spirit of God wherever you go and PRAY–He is your GPS! He will help guide you and to find your way, even to unexpected, wonderful places!
  • Pack light and tight. I did this but still packed too much! Leave room for souvenirs.
  • Make plans, prepare, be organized, but also be flexible and spontaneous for more fun! Some places that you planned to go, you won’t go. Other places you hadn’t even thought of–you will find!
  • Stop and listen to the music! Keep your eyes wide open.
  • Try new foods and drinks.
  • Try to sleep on the plane! Wear comfy, loose, warm clothes. Eating turkey sandwiches and bananas can help you sleep (avoid caffeine late in the afternoon/evening).
  • Stay hydrated! Stay awake and in the sun as long as possible to help with jet lag!
  • Make sweet, precious memories with your children and loved ones!
  • Always back up your pics and videos when you get home! 
  • Take time for coffee and chocolate!
  • Laugh! Have fun! Enjoy every minute!
  • Praise and thank God for His awesome blessings!

I can’t thank Jesus enough for this amazing trip with my beautiful, precious daughter Leah. I’m so thankful that she decided to go with me! We both conquered some fears and had a very exciting adventure! I believe it also gave Leah a little taste for more travel!

Praise You, God, for doing this for me and Leah and for blessing us so much! And now, here I am, Lord, send me–wherever You want me to go!

View from the plane. Goodbye, sweet Ireland!
View from the plane. Goodbye, sweet Ireland!

 

Torc Waterfall
Torc Waterfall

 

My precious beautiful daughter Leah & me at the Cliffs of Moher. A lady offered to take our pic together.
My precious beautiful daughter Leah & me at the Cliffs of Moher. A lady offered to take our pic together.

Remember, DREAM BIG BECAUSE WE SERVE A BIG GOD!

 

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Kilkenny: A near wreck with a semi and a lesson inspired by Leah & a harpist

This is post #14 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,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill,

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall, and

#11, Killorglin: flies, a spider, and a moving bed, and a French couple!

#12, Kenmare: Palm trees, a pub, and Irish coffee;

#13, Ladies View: A break for chocolate and coffee;

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.

Irish Quotes

“No description is possible. I can only say, go and see.”–Dinah Maria Craik

As Leah and I made our way to our last B & B in Ireland, I felt both thankful to God and so sad that we’d be leaving soon. I wanted to stay much longer. The next town we stayed in was Kilkenny.

trees and mountains
trees and mountains

We know for sure that Leah’s relatives on her dad Ray’s side originally came from Ireland. It is also possible that my own relatives from my dad’s side were, too. He has done a lot of genealogy work on both sides of our family.

I had done some research before traveling to Ireland and found the location of a castle that very strongly could have belonged to our family’s clan, if we indeed have Irish roots.

I wanted to visit this family’s fortress that is located in the remote countryside on a huge rock and built in the 9th century, but it would add an extra hour going to Kilkenny. Leah had not slept the night before in Kenmare, and was exhausted, so I decided not to do it this trip. It would be almost three hours long as it was. She slept much of the way in the car.

Sunset in Ireland
Sunset in Ireland

On the way there, I needed to go to the restroom and saw that the convenience store where I was stopping had that delicious Irish ice cream cones, which was even better. 

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

Parking is often a problem in Ireland. I had pulled into the convenience store parking lot, and didn’t see any spaces, so I decided to pull out into the highway to my right and enter the parking lot to look for a space again. Driving in Ireland requires a mental shift, because you drive on the left side of the road, from the front right seat, which is opposite of what Americans do.

I looked to my left but didn’t look carefully enough to my right to see if any traffic was coming toward us, and just as I was about to pull out into the two-lane highway, a semi truck came barreling toward us (on my right). I literally felt wind from the truck and it moved my outside mirror!

It was a VERY close call. The semi almost hit us. If it had, I truly believe that Leah and I would be DEAD! GOD AND HIS ANGELS HAD PROTECTED US! Thank God no one was hurt!

an angel Image source: Google
an angel
Image source: Google

It badly shook me up. I found a parking space in the convenience store lot after that, and I sat a few minutes with my head on the steering wheel, thank God for His protection and literally shaking from fear. Leah was shaken, too.

The semi truck driver actually stopped his truck and came back to check on us as I went inside to use the restroom and buy an ice cream cone. Later, I drew a stick figure cartoon when writing a letter to my sister Maria, about Ireland’s ice cream cones solving any crisis. (I sometimes use humor to cope with life!)

plastic cone sign
plastic cone sign

I bought Leah a cold drink and she sat in the car, working on her tablet. I stood outside in the fresh air, taking a break and enjoying my cone, still thanking God for watching over us. One of the things I’d specifically asked my family and friend intercessors to pray for me traveling was that we would NOT get into any wrecks or be hurt in any way. God answers prayer! It’s important to get prayer cover every day, but especially when you are traveling!

After that, because I was so shaken up from the incident, I made several wrong turns and missed the highway going to Kilkenny. Leah became frustrated and said that she was just ready to go home and be in her own bed, and would be glad when she was not having to deal with me driving. This really hurt my feelings, but I realized it was stress-related.

By this time, we were both tense from the near-accident with the semi and tired from traveling. Be alert to fatigue, hunger, anxiety, and stress when you’re on a trip. The Waze app on my iPhone helped us so much to navigate in Ireland and not get lost (majorly!), but at times the road signs didn’t match what the GPS was saying, and I’d try to go by road signs instead. This would annoy Leah, who asked me why bother with the GPS if I wasn’t going to use it? Good point!

The GPS and road signs don't always match
The GPS and road signs don’t always match

Eventually we got to Kilkenny and we both calmed down when we were able to find a parking garage and a place to eat–this time, we opted for American food and ate cheeseburgers and fries!

Then we found our last B & B. When we first pulled up to the B & B, nobody was there. I had visions of us sleeping in our car the last night of our stay in Ireland and prayed silently, “Not now, God!” Another guest had parked his car in the lot, waiting, smoking a cigarette, and telling me that maybe the owner had the time to meet us wrong.

Then a few minutes later the hostess drove up in her car, smiling and waving at us. I sighed with relief! As usual, the place was beautiful and clean.

Our room had yellow curtains, comfortable quilts, pretty wall art, and was cheery. I was so thankful we stayed here the last night of our stay! The tea and chocolates that the hostess had waiting for us were a welcome refuge after a long drive. This was such a pretty B & B! 

One thing I loved doing at each B & B was taking a hot shower after our drive there and getting into my comfy pj’s! I think I only saw one bathtub our entire stay in Ireland!

Stone fence at Kilkenny B & B
Stone fence at Kilkenny B & B

 

Driveway at Kilkenny B & B
Driveway at Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B
Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B pretty red flowers
Kilkenny B & B pretty red flowers

 

The Kilkenny B & B had yellow curtains, quilts, and was cheery
The Kilkenny B & B had yellow curtains, quilts, and was cheery

 

Our beds at the Kilkenny B & B
Our beds at the Kilkenny B & B

 

pretty wall art at Kilkenny B & B
pretty wall art at Kilkenny B & B

 

Kilkenny B & B tea & chocolates
Kilkenny B & B tea & chocolates
I loved taking hot showers at B & B's after long drives
I loved taking hot showers at B & B’s after long drives

The B & B hostess looked at Leah when she met her and said to me, “She is so beautiful!” I smiled and agreed, “Yes, she is!” This blessed Leah and made her smile. She looked so cute in her dress and flip flops!

Leah at Kilkenny B & B
Leah at Kilkenny B & B

 

Leah in her blue raincoat--it brings out her blue eyes!
Leah in her blue raincoat–it brings out her blue eyes!

I’m glad we went to town first before the B & B. We parked in a garage and walked around the town square a bit, then ate our cheeseburgers and fries at the American restaurant. This was one of the hardest towns to find good parking, so you might locate parking on your GPS before going into town. You have to pay for the parking there, usually a pound or a couple of pounds. It’s best to have both coins and dollars on you at all times for parking expenses. I didn’t see any machines that take credit/debit cards.

town of Kilkenny
town of Kilkenny

 

Kilkenny coffee and deli shop
Kilkenny coffee and deli shop

The Kilkenny Castle looked interesting, but it was getting late. Leah was wearing a dress and flip flops and it was getting cold and windy, so we decided not to tour it this time. We needed to get to our B & B and do last minute packing before flying back to the United States the next morning. The castle was built in 1195 and was a symbol of Norman occupation. The garden has a fountain and beautiful flowers. 

Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle

 

Kilkenny Castle court
Kilkenny Castle court

 

Kilkenny Castle door
Kilkenny Castle door

 

Back of Kilkenny Castle
Back of Kilkenny Castle

 

statue at Kilkenny Castle
statue at Kilkenny Castle

 

fountain and beautiful flowers in garden at Kilkenny Castle
fountain and beautiful flowers in garden at Kilkenny Castle

As usual there were street musicians in town, such as a saxophone player and a harpist. As we passed the harpist, I quickly took a picture and suddenly Leah said, “You always do that.” I asked, “What?” She said, “You never stop and listen to the music. You just take pictures and go on.”

Leah is a musician, so of course she listens to music intently. But her remark about me surprised and convicted me. We need to pause, look, listen, and enjoy this life, especially with our loved ones. I stopped walking and listened with her to the harpist playing so beautifully.

I saw a mom and her kids and also two women sitting and chatting by the harpist. We all need friends in our lives! I’m so thankful and glad that my beautiful, precious daughters are also my friends!

Leah and I listening to harpist
Leah and I listening to harpist

 

two friends chatting and a mom & her kids
two friends chatting and a mom & her kids

 

saxophone player in Kilkenny
saxophone player in Kilkenny

Since Leah and I had bought souvenirs for family and friends, and had dirty laundry, we had to repack everything that night. I checked in for our flights online as Leah did her college homework. The next morning we’d have to get up early at 4:15 AM to be able to leave at 5 AM for the airport.

Unfortunately, we did not have time to explore Dublin. I would have liked to seen the Book of Kells, which is a beautifully illuminated Gospel book containing the four gospels, dating back to the 9th century. Maybe our next trip!

our backpacks & rollerboards for plane
our backpacks & rollerboards for plane

We’d have to get gas on the way and then refill the tank completely before turning in our car to the rental agency, or they charge you extra!

I knew we were also taking a major highway in Dublin, where we’d have to pay a toll. If you don’t pay the tolls in Ireland, you can be fined, sometimes pretty heavily. Leah and I never saw a sign where to pay the toll. She told me to ask about it when I refueled the car at a gas station, and I was able to pay the toll there–her prophetic gifting!

I was nervous about having a flat tire or getting lost on the way to the airport, and missing our international flight. I did take one wrong turn, but we quickly found out way back. There was no problem at all turning in the rental car.

Since we arrived at the airport at 7:10 AM, we had some time for me to buy the remaining souvenirs (duty-free) and for us to eat breakfast before catching our flight. I wanted to try an Irish coffee (with Bailey’s Irish cream) before I left Ireland!

Leah's egg Florentine at airport
Leah’s egg Florentine at airport

 

Leah having her coffee at the Dublin airport
Leah having her coffee at the Dublin airport

 

I finally got my Irish coffee and it was so good! At Dublin airport
I finally got my Irish coffee and it was so good! At Dublin airport

 

Dublin airport
Dublin airport

Be sure you have PLENTY of time to go through customs and security when you’re flying internationally! I thought we’d have enough time eating breakfast and getting our last souvenirs. In the customs’ line, I even asked an agent if we were going to make our flight okay and he looked at our plane tickets and said yes.

As soon as we got out of customs, another agent told us our plane had already taken off and we had missed our international flight! We were RUNNING to our gate to see if somehow we could make it, but we didn’t! I felt this was a good teaching moment for Leah how travel can really be sometimes!

God gave us favor. The gate agents told me that normally we’d have to pay EXTRA to change flights, but they were putting us on another plane for FREE. Thank God! This actually worked to our ADVANTAGE later, as it allowed us to make all US flights back to Kansas City, that I had been worried about due to the short time between catching flights!

Heading home on Aer Lingus (Ireland airlines)
Heading home on Aer Lingus (Ireland airlines)!

There wasn’t a lot of choices when I originally booked the return flights, but I got the best one even though it looked “iff” and prayed for God to work out things for us! He answered that prayer!

Leah's lime coke
Leah’s lime coke on plane

On the final flight back home to Kansas City, Leah put on her sleep mask and used her neck pillow that I had bought her to try to get some sleep. I felt so terrible for her as she was so exhausted. Then we had a drive in the car at the airport parking lot, that was over an hour long getting to our home!

Fortunately Leah and I both were able to catch up on sleep the week after we arrived home in the states. This pic below shows how tired she was, asleep on the final plane, but she had lots of fun and so did I!

What an amazing trip to Ireland. Thank You, Jesus! My heart is overflowing with gratitude that You answer prayer and make our big dreams come true!

Leah asleep on plane coming home
Leah asleep on plane coming home

In my next post in this Ireland Blog Series, I’ll share pics of the beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral and a few others, and wrapping up this blog series on our trip to Ireland. Stay tuned!

On plane, arriving home in Kansas City, MO
On plane, arriving home in Kansas City, MO
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