Galway Girl Part 2

This is post #7 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, and

#6, Galway Girl

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.

“If you’re going to be lost, there’s no friendlier place to get lost in than Ireland.” —Rebekah Crane, The Upside of Falling Down

Ireland green fields & stone wall
Ireland green fields & stone wall

As I shared in my blog post Galway Girl, Galway was definitely mine and Leah’s favorite city on our Ireland trip. The city was alive with energy; it was just FUN! We loved Galway!

I bought my souvenir in Galway: a beautiful, sterling silver Claddagh Ring. Its meaning is about love, loyalty, and friendship. I’d seen them before I went on the trip, and knew that’s what I wanted as my gift!

The Claddagh Ring has been the traditional wedding ring in Ireland since the 17th Century. There are four different ways to wear it:

Claddagh Ring
Claddagh Ring

Single: You should wear the ring on your right hand with the heart facing outwards.

Relationship: You should wear it on your right hand with the heart pointed inwards.

Engaged: You wear it on your left hand with the heart pointing outwards.

Married: You wear it on your left hand with the heart facing inward.

The saying goes that if you’re taken, you wear the ring with the heart on the ring facing your heart, and if you’re searching for love, you wear the heart facing outward.

I’m interested in fashion, but I noticed what other people were wearing as I traveled. This young woman’s white sneakers and backpack were cute. I noted a lot of people wearing backpacks everywhere we went.

The Latin Quarter of Galway
The Latin Quarter of Galway

 

Young woman's cute white sneakers & backpack
Young woman’s cute white sneakers & backpack

I wanted to stay much longer, but I had booked a different B & B each night throughout our journey and since it was starting to rain, Leah and I both thought it best to start heading out after our lunch at The Quay Street Kitchen located in the thriving town’s center.

Thriving Galway center <br/>A talented street musician--guitarist
Thriving Galway center
A talented street musician–guitarist

 

Menu at Galway restaurant
Menu at Galway restaurant

 

flowers on our table
gorgeous fresh flowers on our table

Leah seemed more interested in the bird (a pigeon, I believe) that stayed near our table outside than anything. Throughout our trip, Leah took several pics of birds, to my amusement. This is a good shot below. Now you know what a Galway, Ireland bird looks like!

pigeon near our sidewalk cafe table
pigeon near our sidewalk cafe table

Before we ate lunch, we enjoyed window-shopping at the shops. One of the first things we saw was a pretty street mime in a French cap, turtleneck shirt, big hoop earrings, black and grey leggings, and boots, performing on the sidewalk. A man playing a guitar accompanied her. This was the first time that Leah and I had ever seen a mime in person, so it was interesting.

Galway street mime
Galway street mime

 

Galway street mime
Galway street mime & town center

I saw a music store and asked Leah if she wanted to go inside. Naturally, she did (she plays the violin and other instruments). She later told me that I should know better than to go into a music store, where she’d want to spend all her money! She actually didn’t buy anything there, but wanted to buy a lot!

I took a pic of a harp at this store, because our granddaughter Annabelle–who plays the violin, too–wants to learn how to play the harp. 

Music store in Galway where we stopped
Music store in Galway where we stopped

 

Harp in music store
Harp in music store

Leah was captivated by all the street musicians, as I knew she would be. Here is a shot that is closer up of the guitarist, who reminded me of the musical prodigy in the movie August Rush.

Leah and I listened to him for quite awhile. Leah said he was really good. As he played, he gathered a much bigger crowd than shown here.

amazing guitarist in Galway
amazing guitarist in Galway

 

A big crowd began to gather to listen to this young man
A big crowd began to gather to listen to this talented young man, who played incredibly on the guitar

One of the historic landmarks in Galway is the Wolf Tone Bridge over the River Corrib. The bridge is named after revolutionary Theobald Wolfe Tone, who helped found the United Irish Society, which worked to unite Roman Catholics and Protestants. We were trying to find parking to walk across the bridge.

Wolfe Tone Bridge Image source: Google
Wolfe Tone Bridge
Image source: Google

Leah found parking lots on my phone using the GPS, which I didn’t even know you could do. But it proved to be challenging as traffic was INSANE in Galway!

We just drove in circles, with me trying to listen to my phone’s GPS lady Siri, as I drove through unknown and ridiculously narrow streets and tried to avoid hitting cars in our rental car! Leah was getting frustrated with me, and I was getting very hungry!

Car GPS
Car GPS lady’s voice Siri telling me where to go

I winded up mistakenly going down a dead-end street and having to back up (not an easy feat, as the automatic cars in Ireland are a little hard to put into Neutral or Reverse!).

Leah and I decided to forget the bridge!

We did see this pretty stone bridge pictured below. I believe it was near Galway, but can’t be postive. There are a lot of bridges like this across Ireland. Unfortunately due to parking, I was unable to get a picture on the Wolf Tone Bridge.

Ireland has many legends, and the Wolfe Tone Bridge has one, too: in the 1800’s, it was that any Claddagh person traveling west over the bridge at midnight would be attacked by a ‘gliomach’ or sea monster. We were there in the daytime, not midnight, but good thing I don’t believe in legends, anyway!

stone bridge
stone bridge

In my next post in this Ireland Blog Post series, I’ll share about one of the scariest times that Leah and I had in Ireland: driving in the rain up Corkscrew Mountain!

Driving through mountains in Ireland
Driving through mountains in Ireland

 

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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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Prince’s death and other questions about life

With North Korea playing around with missiles, a probable Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton fight for the Presidential election, and a Canadian man being beheaded by Abu Sayyaf gunmen, there’s a lot going on lately. 

As Christian believers, we know that today’s news headlines are prophecy being fulfilled before Jesus’ second coming. Time is very short.

Why then do I tend to obsess about the 80’s music legend Prince’s sudden death at the age of 57 this week?

Prince
Prince

I’ve always had a morbid fascination with celebrities, movie stars, musicians, and other wealthy/famous people living drama-filled, unhappy lives or dying young or suddenly.

I’ve never understood why, despite their millions of money and fame, many seem so unhappy, have broken relationships, become alcoholics and addicted to drugs, or come to a tragic end through suicide or dying young or suddenly. 

Like many people, some of the lives and deaths of famous people I’ve obsessed about were:

  • Elvis
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Michael Jackson
  • Whitney Houston
  • Princess Diana
  • Amy Winehouse
  • and many more. 

Controversy surrounds these celebrities’ deaths. Rumors abound of suicide, drug overdoses, murder, and the Illuminati.

I’m an extremely analytic person, and unanswered questions like the cause of Prince’s death and if he was truly a Christian believer or now in hell really bother me, to the point where I read online news and watch YouTube videos for days or weeks afterward, talking to my family and friends about it until they wish I’d just shut up!

I’m just trying to understand why they wind up so unhappy, committing suicide or dying so tragically when they were pursuing their big dreams and seemed to have the “good life” that so many Americans dream of. Could it be that good life is merely an illusion, a mirage?

Personally, I don’t believe many people can handle great wealth and fame. The very thing they desire winds up destroying them in the end. They don’t have the integrity and the character to sustain it.

Prince performing
Prince performing

Prince also was found dead in an elevator. He hated elevators and called them the devil. Is this just a coincidence? Or was he murdered as rumors have it, or possibly overprescribed drugs? Suicide and trauma have been ruled out as a cause of death. It’s certainly eerie and I think a little suspicious he died in an elevator–or perhaps he was sensing something prophetically. Odd that he called them “the devil.”

He was not known for abusing alcohol, although there are questions that his death may have been caused from use of the potent painkiller Percocet (he had severe hip pain from jumping on stage in high heels). Hopefully the news will release the toxicology report soon.

What happened to Prince? What were his spiritual beliefs?

I’m so very tired of celebrities dying so young and suddenly. I wish they’d find out what happened to him.

I read articles about his “spiritual transformation” with interest. After a two year friendship/discussions with fellow musician Larry Graham, Prince changed. From news online, I’ve learned that Prince grew up Seventh Day Adventist and later converted to a Jehovah’s Witness

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

Don’t die without knowing the Cross

He also sang the song, The Cross, about Jesus. 

The lyrics are: 

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don’t cry, he is coming
Don’t die without knowing the cross…

As writer Denny Burk wrote about Prince’s death being like a punch in the gut, his music was a window, but it was a murky one and had a lot of dark stuff. But this is a good word: “Don’t die without knowing the cross.”

Prince compared joining the Jehovah’s Witness to “Morpheus and Neo in ‘The Matrix,’” even going door to door to witness and reports saying that he wished he could’ve talked to Michael Jackson more about his beliefs before he died.  He apparently shared his beliefs with many.
Morpheus and Neo, The Matrix
Morpheus and Neo, The Matrix

I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness and believe it is a cult. So I don’t know if Prince was saved or not, but it’s not my place to judge. I’ll leave that up to God, and others should, too. I pray he made it to heaven. I don’t want anyone going to hell. It’s a horrible place. I am encouraged he sang about the Cross, about Jesus. 

Prince
Prince

Prince’s Gift is from God

What I do know about him is that he was a musical genius, playing 27 instruments, with a wide vocal range. 27 instruments, wow!

As I’ve watched his videos on YouTube since his passing, I’ve been amazed at his range, going from the deepest baritone to the highest . No matter what his songs lyrics were or how sensually he performed them, he truly had a gift from God. 

Prince wrote and produced many of his songs, selling over 100 million records worldwide, winning 7  Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He’s listed at number 27 on the list of the top 100 greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone. He also penned other songs that made other singers famous. (Resource: Wikipedia)

This is what struck me about him: Prince credited his musical gift and inspiration to God in his interview with Larry King. There’s no denying it, Prince was extremely musically gifted and had a powerful singing voice.

I believe even his name was prophetic of his life. When you look at pictures of him, you sense a princely air about him.

Purple was Prince's signature color
Purple was Prince’s signature color

Purple was Prince’s signature color and he had a custom-designed purple guitar. Purple is associated with royalty and authority in the Bible. His explanation for purple was associated with his interest in the mid-80’s about the apocalypse:

“When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god”guide you through the purple rain”

Purple Rain

In my teens, I confess that I was a fan of Prince’s. By far my favorite is Purple Rain. I still love it.

He performed it in a downpour during the Superbowl Halftime, the rain coming down almost as if on cue. (The song starts at about the 8:12 minute mark.) 

Rain
Rain

I love these lyrics to it:

“I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.”

The other song that he’s famous for that I liked was 1999. (Disclaimer: it has some inappropriate words and scenes, but Prince was known for being risque.)

To me, the song speaks about being positive about the future and not being afraid, since he recorded it before the 2000 Y2K scare.

I laughed when I read this in the article about one woman’s big concern about Y2K:

“By midafternoon, Juanita Serrano had grabbed one of the last large containers of water left in the store. She said it was an essential part of her Y2K survival kit, along with a 10-pound container of coffee and milk. “I have to have my coffee,” she said. “I cannot go on without my coffee, no matter what is going on around me.”

Starbucks cinammon dolce coffee
Starbucks cinammon dolce coffee

Yes, I relate about the coffee! Anyway, I digress…back to Prince. 

I believe he was a musical legend, and an amazing singer and artist. He accomplished great things while on earth.

Prince died while still young, only age 57. The world is reeling with shock that he’s dead. So young. So unexpected.

hand

Really, we shouldn’t be shocked. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 that we’re all destined to die once and after that is the Judgment from God. Am I ready? Are you?

I don’t know why so many stars, celebrities, musicians, wealthy and famous people seem to have such unhappy, troubled lives. We’re all seeking.

As I shared before, I believe there are very few people who can handle great wealth and fame, due to a lack of character. Ultimately, only God can satisfy that black hole deep inside all of us. It is a God-void.

I don’t know why so many die so young or and/or so suddenly. All of us will face death and God one day, and we need to be prepared because we don’t know when that moment is. Tomorrow is not promised.

The way to find joy, peace, and the abundant life is through Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Don’t die without the Cross. 

Prince, I pray you are resting in peace.

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