Ladies’ View: A break for coffee and chocolate

This is post #13 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.

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

“Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.”–Charles Haughey

After a long journey, we need to stop and rest. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to rest at times. Leah and I found the perfect spot when reaching Ladies’ View, a scenic view on the Ring of Kerry, in the Killarney National Park. The name comes from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. 

As I drove through treacherous mountain curves to Kenmare, it rained a little but the sun came out and we saw a beautiful rainbow.

a rainbow in Ireland
a rainbow in Ireland

This made me smile as I had prayed before going on this trip that it would not heavily rain, but if it did ever rain for God to give me a rainbow as a sign of His promises and His presence with us. 

 “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.” (Genesis 9:13, NLT)

The mountains were gorgeous but it was a little scary driving through them. Cars were flying around the curves, but around each corner there was another breathtakingly beautiful view. Pictures simply don’t do the beauty in Ireland justice. 

mountains on the way to Kenmare
mountains on the way to Kenmare

 

mountains in national park
mountains in national park

 

mountain lake
mountain lake

 

unique trees in mountains
unique trees in mountains

In Ireland as you are driving, you have to watch for sheep, goats, cows, and other animals on the side of the highway and roads. Leah and I saw one lone sheep and a lone goat on the highway as we drove, and I slowed down to take a pic. We also saw a funny sign, “Adopt a Sheep.”

Adopt a Sheep sign on highway
Adopt a Sheep sign on highway

 

mountain highway in the rain
mountain highway in the rain

 

lone sheep by the mountain highway
lone sheep by the mountain highway

After driving up and down the steep mountains, Ladies’ View Industries was a welcome place to stop and relax for a bit, to have chocolate and coffee and browse their little shop for souvenirs, such as wool scarves and clothing, postcards, soft toy sheep, and other cute items!

Leah ordered an iced caramel latte and I got a hot latte. They had scones, chocolate, and other goodies. We shared chocolate fudge with walnut, which was delicious. The tables had pretty, fresh flowers on them, such a nice, elegant touch!

Ladies' View Industries
Ladies’ View Industries

 

Leah's and my lattes' at Ladies' View shop
Leah’s and my lattes’ at Ladies’ View shop

 

my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers
my latte at table with pretty, fresh flowers

 

scones, chocolate, and other goodies
scones, chocolate, and other goodies

 

different types of fudge
different types of fudge

I love coffee and drink it every morning. I also love the smells, sights, and sounds of coffee shops, and think it might be fun to work in one. At home, in the morning after I get ready and cook my cheese omelette, I enjoy “coffee with God,” having that first cup of coffee as I pray and read the Bible. Then at work, I make coffee for the second smaller one! I even have a sign on my bookshelf at work, “But first coffee.”

employees in coffee shop
employees in coffee shop

We looked out the amazing scenery at Ladies’ View for awhile, then went on our way and stopped at another scenic view, this time with mountains and a lake.

gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park
gorgeous mountain and lake in Killarney National Park

 

scenic view of mountain & lake in national park
scenic view of mountain & lake in national park

 

mountains, Killarney National Park
mountains, Killarney National Park

 

Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake
Leah, Killarney National Park mountains by lake

It was raining softly. The area had huge mountain boulders, that Leah began to climb. Since she was wearing flip flops, I was so afraid that Leah was going to slip, fall, and hurt herself. She was very amused, taking a picture of herself with me in the background, admonishing her to be careful. Thank God she did NOT fall. The picture is funny now!

me telling Leah to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops
Leah is funny–but she needs to listen! Me in the background, telling her to be careful climbing the wet rocks in her flip flops

As you drive through Ireland, you see stone walls on sides of the roads and highways, a variety of homes with thatched roofs, and so many castles and castle ruins (you can even take a castle tour, attend castle meal feasts, and stay in castles overnight). The sights are interesting, so make sure you have lots of room on your camera or phone to take pics and videos!

stone walls on the side of highway
stone walls on the side of highway

 

home with thatched roof
home with thatched roof

 

you see castles and ruins all over Ireland
you see castles and ruins all over Ireland

In my next post in this Ireland blog series, I’ll share about our last B & B in Kilkenny, where we listened to a woman playing an electric harp on the sidewalk and Leah shared a lesson of truth with me which convicted me. LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN’s HEARTS! We also had a near miss with a semi-truck when I stopped at a convenience store for ice cream! God protected us! Stay tuned!

Green Irish hills
Green Irish hills

 

My beautiful, precious daughter Leah. I love her so much!
My beautiful, precious daughter Leah with her souvenir necklace from Ireland. I love her so much!

 

 

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Lessons From a Garden

purple petunias
purple petunias

Recently I created a rose and flower garden, for the first time in my life. I found out quickly that gardening is hot WORK, but I’m very pleased with what I accomplished and love looking at the beautiful flowers from my sunroom, as I drink coffee in the morning.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned working on my gardens:

  • It’s hard, hot work. The Christian life isn’t easy and Jesus never said it would be a “rose garden.” (Pardon the pun, but I couldn’t resist!) In fact, He warned us that we would have trouble in this life, even persecution and suffering if we followed Him, but we don’t need to feel afraid because He has overcome this world. (John 16:33) I’ve had my fair share of trials and heartaches, and then some. What about you? Let’s face it, marriage is hard (really hard!). Parenting is hard. So is having a ministry, grandparenting, paying the basic bills, staying healthy and fit, dealing with people at your job or church, not losing your temper in traffic, speaking at conferences, writing your book, blogging, taking care of pets, finding life’s real meaning, simply getting out of the bed in the morning, and any number of things we face in this world. But one thing for sure, Jesus will never leave or abandon us. (Hebrews 13:5) He will help us to do what we need to do each day, if we ask Him. He will help us get to that finish line! Just don’t quit.
  • Have a vision. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18, “Without a vision the people perish.” You need to have a vision for your garden. Before I started shoveling dirt and buying a bunch of flowers, I thought about what I wanted my two gardens to look like. I googled online and drove around cities to see what other gardeners had done and theirs pretty gardens looked like for inspiration. You can ask your family and friends for their ideas, too, like I did on Facebook. My friend Rose on Facebook and others were a great help to me, since I’ve never done this before and told me how they had made theirs with very helpful tips–what to do and what not to do.
  • Dig deep. You can’t just go throw seeds on the dirt, or plop some flowers from the bucket on top of the soil to create a beautiful garden. You have to prepare the soil first and dig! My friend Rose encouraged me to first clear the area where I wanted the garden of grass, pebbles, and what appeared to be “Creeping Charlie” weeds that were in abundance by the patio and garage. Then she said to lay down cardboard flat on the dirt, which is biodegradable and works better than landscape fabric, and put bark mulch on top of it for my rose garden. For the annuals and perennials, I cleared the area, spread out compost and potting soil, and mixed them together to prepare the soil for the flowers to take root. In order to plant the roses and my flowers, I had to dig–in some places deep. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 42:7: “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” God doesn’t want you and me to have a shallow, superficial relationship with Him, but a deep, intimate one each day. Go deeper with God in prayer, worship, and studying the Bible every day. Choose to grow closer to God.
  • Water and weed daily. I’m treating my rose and flower gardens a little like I do my kids and grandkids, worrying over them. My grandmother Moore had a green thumb and could grow anything, but I’ve never done this before and don’t want to kill my flowers! They need sunlight, watering and weeding daily. I need to give them enough water, but not too much. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what exactly they need and want (again, like our children!). I have to watch vigilantly for weeds and pests. They both can destroy a garden. In our lives, we need to watch for pests that can destroy and weeds that can quickly overgrow in our hearts and minds, such as unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, gossip, pride, resentment, discouragement, depression, unbelief, and more. These can cause great spiritual destruction in our lives and cause us to get off God’s plan and path for our life. We want to yield eternal, good fruit for God, not waste our lives or have sins choke out the good fruit (flowers). Ezekiel 17:8 says, “It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”
  • Fertilize. Sometimes plants and flowers need a little extra boost with fertilizer–replenishing lost nutrients, ensuring they have the food they need to flourish, stimulate root growth, helping the plant set buds and flowers, and improving vitality. I bought rose food for my roses and applied it the first week, per the box’s instructions. As believers, we face times of crisis (much like strong winds and relentless rain to the flowers) and need to apply the principles of spiritual warfare, being sure to keep on the armor of God, which you can read about in Ephesians 6. I recommend my book, The Hands of a Woman: Everyday Women in Everyday Battles, available for sale at Amazon, which is about 8 women’s greatest spiritual battles. Another great book is Priscilla Shirer’s study on The Armor of God, also at Amazon. I also recommend watching the movie War Room, in which Priscilla starred with Karen Abercombie and T.C. Stallings. Staying grounded in God’s word and prayer will be the fertilizer we need to stay strong through faith in Christ.
  • You’ll get tired. When I started working on the gardens, I used muscles that I certainly had not been using in awhile, so I felt it in every part of my body afterward—I was so sore! What I needed was a hot shower, good food, and to sit down and relax watching a movie! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, AMP, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened[by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” God wants to give your soul rest–peace and quiet from the hectic, busy, noisy pace of today. Sometimes a garden is the perfect place to do that. As my friend Rose reminded and encouraged me yesterday on Facebook, Jesus spent a lot of time in gardens. At other times, it’s watching a chick flick, eating chips and salsa with Mexican, taking a bubble path, getting a mani or pedi, ordering pizza and laughing with family and friends, going to the beach (my place of peace!), or just getting a good night’s rest. God wants to refill and restore you when you’re tired and weary.
  • Enjoy the view. I was worn out making these gardens. I had to go to a lot of different nurseries and garden places to find the supplies and flowers, in 90+F degree, sweltering heat. I’d never done this before and, frankly, I’m out of shape! It is WORK! I sweated a lot and had to take breaks, since I was planting quite a bit of flowers. But once I finished (I just have one rose shrub left to plant, which hasn’t arrived yet but it’s ordered online!), I was pleased with the overall effect. I love it! It makes me happy to look at the pretty roses and flowers from my sunroom, drinking coffee in the movie. I am praying I can keep them alive and they will thrive; please pray, too! But remember to enjoy the view. Savor the moments in your life. Love your family, friends, and others. Glorify God in all you do. Humankind began in a garden. It is a place of beauty and life.

“When I’m writing, I think about the garden, and when I’m in the garden I think about writing. I do a lot of writing by putting something in the ground.” ~ Jamaica Kincaid

Althea flower
Althea flower

What lessons have you learned from gardening? Please share and leave your comments below.

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Labor Day: When the bough breaks

I don’t know why Labor Day was created, but my life also sometimes feels like labor–the continual, agonizing pains of childbirth:

  • financial challenges
  • marriage problems
  • our grown kids’ struggles
  • disappointments
  • stress upon stress, until I feel like I’m going to break.

Maybe breaking is what God is after in me. 

Brokenness.

Humility.

Obedience.

Surrender.

The breaking reminds me for some reason of the children’s nursery rhyme and lullaby, Rock-a-by, Baby:

baby in tree top -http://www.crystalinks.com/rockabyebaby.jpg
baby in tree top
http://www.crystalinks.com/rockabyebaby.jpg

Part of the lyrics say:

Rock-a-by, baby, on the tree top

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.

And when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

Down will come baby, cradle and all. 

What a strange nursery rhyme! 

Why would a baby be on top of a tree?

Why does the cradle rock gently when the wind blows?

Why doesn’t it come crashing down right away?

crib
crib

There are various theories to explain the origins of this lullaby.

One suggests it narrates a mother rocking a baby to sleep like the baby is riding on the treetops during a breeze. Then when she lowers the baby to the crib, the song says, “Down will come baby.”

Another theory says it may have been written by an English immigrant observing native American women rocking their babies in birch-bark cradles, suspended from the branches of trees and allowing the wind to rock the baby to sleep. But the words appeared in print first in England, c. 1765.

A third theory is that the baby is the son of James VII and II, widely believed to be someone’s child smuggled into the birthing room to provide a Roman Catholic heir for James. The wind may be the Protestant “wind” or force blowing from the Netherlands, bringing his nephew and son-in-law William of Orange. He deposed King James II in the revolution. The cradle is the House of Stuart. Some nursery rhymes are political in origin.

At any rate, the wind blows…sometimes too hard, and then it all comes smashing down. 

What then?

Only that instead of “laboring” and striving in our own strength, rest in God.

Trust Him.

Lay your burdens and stress at His feet and let Him take care of it all…and cradle you.

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days Holley Gerth
What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days
Holley Gerth

I love what Holley Gerth wrote in her little devotional book, What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days, pp. 26-27:

“When the day seems difficult, when you’re weary, when you feel like a failure…God is encouraging you. For so long I thought of him as standing by and shaking his head as he wondered, “Why can’t you get it all together?” But that’s not his heart toward us at all. To encourage literally means “to give courage,” and that’s what God wants to do for us on the hard days. He says to us, “I’m here. I will help you. I will give you strength to take one more step.” He looks at your life with infinite love and tenderness. And he knows how hard it is to be us sometimes. He lived in this world. He experienced pain. He died on a cross. Jesus understands how brutal this world can be...What if, on the days when it’s hard for you to get out of bed, you imagined him reaching out to lift you up instead of being disappointed in you? What if he’s cheering you as you take your first step into a day that’s not one you want to face? What if instead of saying, “Get it together,” he’s whispering, “Let’s do this together”? That changes everything. And it can change us.”

 

 

 

 

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