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Blog, Faith, Family, Marriage, Parenting, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, worship/praise/music

When you’re looking for a new church home

Image: Edward Cisneros @ Unsplash

Image: Edward Cisneros @ Unsplash

My husband Ray and I have been looking for a new church home for years. I’m excited about the new church that we’ve been attending, Hope City Church of Harrisonville, Missouri. Why? We’re among the 1/3 of people who used to attend church, but now stay away specifically because they “lost trust in God, the church, or Christians.” (According to a 2019 ‚ÄúUnchurched Report‚ÄĚ by Billy Graham Center Institute and Lifeway Research, You Found Me, Rich Richardson, p. 47)

Image: Julian Florez at Unsplash

Image: Julian Florez at Unsplash

It’s a startling and scary fact that the number of youth (Americans ages 18-29) who have no religious affiliation has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, and 59% of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.

There are several reasons that Ray and I and our children were wounded that I won’t go into here, but we’ve had to walk through a LOT of forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are many people in the same boat. My hope is that this new church will be a safe haven for us of God’s agape (unconditional) love, truth, and forgiveness; that we can make new friends; and that we’ll be able to serve in the Body of Christ and use our spiritual gifts, talents, and skills for God’s glory there.¬†

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Blog, Faith, prayer, Travel, Writing

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‚Äôs 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!

 

Blog, Faith, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Coffee *from* God. He cares about the little things!

This morning I was getting ready for church in my fuchsia colored/black/white dress, with the black shoulder wrap and the butterfly necklace my husband Ray bought me (I love butterflies). Then I realized as I cooked an egg that I was out of creamer for my morning coffee. Oh oh.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T. S. Eliot

coffee and Bible

coffee and Bible

And Ray and I were broker than broke, so I couldn’t go buy any creamer. I don’t do black coffee, like my husband Ray does. Normally I have “coffee with God,” my morning devotional time with Him to pray, read the Bible, and journal. Today I would get coffee *from* God.¬†

I let it go but thinking, “I’d really like a cup of coffee,” and then I went out the door to church.

Woman with issue of blood Image resource: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aeRnaVuFljc/U-dwVMDEv8I/AAAAAAAADSI/ycrWBTakZMA/s1600/hem-garment.jpg

Woman with issue of blood
Image resource: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-aeRnaVuFljc/U-dwVMDEv8I/AAAAAAAADSI/ycrWBTakZMA/s1600/hem-garment.jpg

This has been a¬†very hard week for me emotionally. ¬†Someone I deeply love hurt me, and then after that it was like all hell broke loose against me with the enemy’s flaming arrows.¬†I’ve cried all week and at night, I’ve had terrible insomnia.¬†But I lifted up my shield of faith against the flames of fire, I chose to forgive, I let go, and I’m trusting God to heal the wounds (of mine and the loved one) by Jesus’ healing power and virtue.¬†

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

At church today, Pastor Jeff preached on the Christian family and his message went straight to my heart. I knew I was supposed to be there today for God to encourage me.

I cried during a short, inspiring video about family that Pastor Jeff shared, ¬†I lifted my hands in praise during worship (you must understand, this is a BAPTIST church where they don’t normally do this, but I do!), and hope touched my broken heart. It is well, it is well with my soul.¬†

And after church was over? I noticed in the foyer on a little table, they were serving coffee and doughnuts. I’d never seen the coffee before. I skipped the doughnuts (THIS time!), poured the hot coffee in the white styrofoam cup, mixed in several little cups of creamer, and in the car as I drove home, sipping my creamy coffee, I thanked my Heavenly Father God, who cares about the little things–like my morning cup of coffee.

I enjoyed it, sitting in our sunroom, watching and listening to the birds on this beautiful, sunny, spring day.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7, NLT

My coffee *from* God

My coffee *from* God