Thursday, December 27, 2007

Personal opinion...

Oddly, it just struck me that all people function from the paradigm of rightness. All people (and to be safe I will re-phrase with most people) believe, consciously or unconsciously, that they are right: opinions, beliefs, and assertions-all are right. I grasp the naturalness of this basic understanding, but its realness just surfaced in my mind. Perhaps most people operate upon this understanding knowingly, but I still find it amazing, but utterly normal. As people grow, mature, they form opinions and beliefs. In some sense, these formations are closely identified with individuals and their personal identity. Thus, it is very difficult for a person to admit wrongness on a point which they themselves have formed and uphold, because their admission can, in some sense, affect their psyche and crumble their identity. The belief or opinion can be so closely linked with the actual person, that to separate the two would be lethal. Hence, the reason for vigilantly and adamantly clinging to ones paradigm of opinion and belief would be to place oneself upon the alter wholly. Opinions do not make the person. Beliefs to not make the person. These things do shape and mold individuals; however, without them people are independent and perfectly able to stand in the knowledge that they are upheld by something far greater than measly that everyone is right.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Life again

I have gained new insight. Life is not about us-that is where the perspective has become skewed and off. If I live my life with the mentality that all I do-being born, going to school, getting married and then dying-is all there is, then yes life will be depressing. But, all such perspectives result from self-centered living. My life is not my own and thus cannot be about me. I have been born, etc. for a greater purpose beyond myself and my own ends. This is my hope. I live for someone else and for things beyond me. Thank God. I was beginning to get depressed about life...

Monday, December 17, 2007

What is life...?

What is this thing that we call life? Of what does it consist? Where does the meaning lie? Is it simply being born, growing, functioning as one should in "life" i.e. school, marriage, children, death-is that all it is? I know within the depths of my soul this cannot be and it is not truth, but my unfortunate perspective of daily life instills this as the cycle and pattern that must ensue-but whether it contains meaning is another matter. Cycles and patterns can be completely empty, mundane and meaningless, unless proactively altered and changed. I think somewhere in my head I have conceived this notion that this "life" will be bearable if only somewhere else and consisting of something else, but truly that is a pervasive discontent that will never be satisfied. Life is life no matter where it occurs-it is what one does in that life that holds lasting importance or meaning. This horrible view of life perhaps seems inconsistent with a Christian paradigm, and it may be, but nevertheless, it plagues me at present. I know there is meaning deeper than the mundane, daily life-which is why, I know my soul, is forever discontent. We are not meant for this world-it is only a shadow, a foreground to the real world which awaits us. However, that does not mean we are meant to loath wholly our existence-no! There is deeper meaning to this thing called "life" and I choose that hope over these pessimistic tendencies regarding my existence...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Stereotypes, preconceived notions, closed-mindedness-why? God created diversity, creativity, difference and yet we, as humans, attempt to force every person, group, or creed into neat little boxes-when we are anything but neat or box-like. Why do we succumb to our own short comings? We must not be content to place or be placed in boxes-it limits His vastness and our own abilities and God-given diversities. He is not limited in how He chooses to reveal Himself or in whom He chooses to gift and use for His purposes-why then do we, as ignorant humans, assume to understand or comprehend the ways of God? We have placed God in a box-He will not remain there, and perhaps we should not either...


Things in abundance-unnecessary. Stuff screaming and yelling-it overwhelms and consumes. I look about me at materialism galore and I wonder-why? I do not need it. Take it away-better off will I be. I am not defined by what surrounds me, but rather by he who is within me. Hate hate hate loath it all....but then I don't fully or it would be gone-dilemma...

Monday, December 10, 2007

The pain

My hearts feels to be ripping and tearing, yearning for the shores of that place of green pasture, sweeping Mournes, swelling tide, receding bay, cups of tea, friends and times together. The magic has been broken and my heart knows the reality-it cannot be repeated. The chapter has closed, never again to be reopened. Oh the pain I feel in my soul at the thought! How I wish I could return and repeat the memories, but I know it would be a sin to wish it. I must set my eyes towards now and rather than then, but how truly difficult it remains to tear my heart and thoughts from the place which afforded me with such precious memories, deep friendships, lasting lessons and a life long love of that place…I will never again be the same. My heart will forever be emblazoned with the mark of this time...

Sunset Chapter...

Softly pink and mingled be
The emotions of my sky.
Setting is this chapter
Upon the horizon of my life.
I gaze and seek for the past,
But the sun has descended
Upon this my memory.
Not again will that same sun
Rise unto this life,
For changed it will be
From the seasons of my past.
Wet are these clouds beneath my pen,
Drawn from memories sweet and savory.
Return I cannot, but set my eyes I can
upon a new sunrise.
Thus my eyes I turn,
but my heart and mind remain...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Michael Longley

The renowned Irish poet, Michael Longley, came for a visit this morning. He entered with a tweed coat upon his back and a scarf about his neck. His hair was bushy and white, reminiscent of Father Christmas. His belly spoke of life well enjoyed. He sat in our circle with half-rimmed spectacles perched upon his nose. His ordinary, conversational speech overflowed with profundity and poetic genius. I marveled at his wisdom and candid honesty. His spirit self-professedly lacks eternal security, however, never a more compassionate or sensitive man have I ever met. His poems speak of life-its beauties and horrors. He spoke of inspiration as "excitement and electricity" things needed for good poetry. I reveled in his experiences and advice. He said at one point: "poetry is my religion." This struck honestly within my heart, but saddened me simultaneously. He is a brilliant craftsmen-for that is what a poet is-a craftsmen, a priest, a maker. He beautifully said, "art (poetry in his case) makes up for only having one life." Living vicariously through ones art-pure brilliance. He talked about experiences being incomplete until written down and the need to allow those experiences first to settle and take root before recording them in words. "Old fashioned inspiration." Thus stands my muse...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An afternooon with the Crofts

It is our second to last Wednesday in Northern Ireland. Billy and Mindi surprised us by arriving early on Monday and shocking us tremendously. Our group took a wee walk down the road to Richard and Amanda Croft's home this afternoon to enjoy minced pies, hot drinks, Christmas crackers, good conversation and general Christmas cheer. The Croft's home is lovely and hidden with wondrous old surprises. Richard played us delicious old records on his gramophone, which dates back to the 1890's, and the records he played us were from the big band age of the 1920's. It was transporting. I felt myself pulled back to the days of women in boyish fitting dresses, with shortly cropped hair, and wee hats, dancing away to music of brass and the like. We toured their house further and surveyed their extensive art collection (they are both professional artists). Carrie, Jill and I settled ourselves in their reading room, having discovered a wonderfully old book of Irish wit and humor, entitled "Brave Crack." We proceeded to read aloud selected verses and poems with the best and most dramatic Irish accents we could muster. Their house inspired the mind and wakened the soul to great thought. I mourn at the idea of leaving this place...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The real Ireland

I think I experienced the real Ireland for the first time since being in Northern Ireland. Carrie and I accompanied our new Irish friend Aiden and his German friend Klaus to a pub in an Irish village called Castlewellan, near Dundrum, where authentic Irish music was being played. We were easily the youngest people in the pub and it was an obvious difference. The band played and played. The tunes were like something heard only in films. There was a banjo, guitar, Irish flute, and another instrument I could not distinguish. The voices of the band rang out true Irish tones of nationalism. There were a great many songs about immigration and America. Klaus plays the harmonica and decided to play a few songs with the band. By the end of the night the entire pub was in love with him. The culture was evident everywhere. The accents were markedly different, the tunes, the language (some people spoke Gaelic) the people, the Guinness. Klaus was begged to stay and sing many more songs. He was essentially a celebrity when by the time we left the pub, people were getting up to shake his hand. The music was incredible. I felt as close to Irish as I might ever get. The beat pulsed through our veins as we clapped along to the rhythmic beat, while singing happily along with those around us. It was a beautiful scene of culture I have only now been privileged enough to survey. We drove home beneath a blazing moon, listening to beautiful Irish bagpipes and pensively watching the dark outline of the Mournes as we rode past. It was a glorious night...
I felt as if I was seeing the other side of Ireland for the first time. It was not until tonight that I realized the entirety of my experience in this wonderful place has been secluded to the Protestant, Unionist side of Ireland. I was able to glimpse finally the Nationalist, Catholic Ireland which has been denied me these three months. I think unintentionally, our group has been dragged right into the middle of sectarianism and allowed only to experience what others wanted us to. I am saddened by this, but grateful for my brief glimpse...

Friday, November 23, 2007


I am far too much of a romantic. I attempt to live my life in the world of optimistic idealism. But, sadly I am often brought crashing down into the cold, harsh world of realism. Cruel reality grips my ideals and vindictively breaks them apart-leaving me with only my dreams, shattered, but real. I realize my ideals are exactly that-ideals, but I choose them over the harsh reality of this world. I would rather live deluded and idealistically deceived then to constantly live in the sad reality of life. Perhaps I should temper my world of ideology with a bit of reality, but I can not be persuaded to part from this that is part of my nature. I am an shoot me. This is who I am and I can be no one else besides myself. That is the key really-to arrive at a place where one is content with oneself-perhaps I am on the way...? Or perhaps instead, this is just another silly ideal?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Crowds and Individuals

I find that when traversing my way through the crowded streets of Belfast, faces and people appear as mere blurs, nameless characters with no meaning or individuality. People begin to all look the same, losing all sense of uniqueness. It is only when the maddening rush ceases and the crowds disperse into small groups, individuals emerge. It is in the small coffee shops and restaurants that the faces slow down and I see people, separate from the masses. It is until those moments that I remember to look at people as unique creations and not simply as mass produced clumps of sameness. I am able to see personal stories and experiences-people emerge from the crowd and become is indeed a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The monotony of studying is broken only by the metallic sound of rain crying its tears of steel outside our doors and windows. We have been cooped up all day due to the dismal weather. The wet, sopping outside as frightened us indoors. We cower in our cold rooms, with curtains shut tight, so as to keep out the cold, wrapped in layers we clutch mugs of hot tea for momentary relief. The words dribble out of our fingers with a click, tat, click, type of the computer keys--it is the only and incessant noise of our still houses. The wind howls outside our confinement like a mad child, reminding us to be thankful for being within doors. Hot stew for dinner, wondrous warmth. Besides warmth, our main aim is sanity, which bodes difficult in such forlorn conditions. I think cabin fever has begun to set in. We are all beginning to feel the effects: restlessness, irritability, fatigue, etc. I do not want to leave this place to which my soul has become attached, but I might be prepared for this time to be at an end. My nose is incessantly cold...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Industrial. That is how the city struck me upon entering its boarders this morning as the sun shone through the fog and mist of the early day. The early morning cold reached into our limbs as we ascended from the bus and greeted us awake. We boarded another bus into the city. Houses, stores, and people unique passed my vision and rapped me in the life of the city. Teasing rays of sunlight peaked through tree branches as we continued, drawing me to further alertness and awareness. I tried to read, but could not keep my eyes upon the page or the ideas that flitted in and out of my attention span. There was much to see. The city neared or rather we neared it. An automated voice screeched out the announcement that we had arrived at the city center. We departed the bus and entered the city. Swarms of people. International. We traversed to Trinity college which brought one into times past and romanticized. The architecture harked back to what appeared Victorian or something old and grand at the least. We communed with our art guide and had coffee. The accent of Dubliners is lovely, different and harsh upon my ears after being long accustomed to the Northern accent. The National gallery awaited. She took us through rooms upon rooms filled with artists and their work that related to our art course. Such beauty that I sadly do not possess the capacity to fully appreciate! The security guards at the gallery talked incessantly, sweet but time consuming-I adore the accent. Eating, walking, talking. More crowds. The thrill of walking through a big city alone and independent absolutely exhilarated my soul. Shops upon shops-overwhelming. Unique streets lined with Christmas light adorn my memory. We walked where "Once" was filmed-wonderful. There were street musicians-I gave them a Euro. A park with geese and many people-I took a picture of Carrie despite my hatred of being "that person" who takes pictures like a tourist. More walking, window shopping-fresh flower venders, homeless people, lattes and crazy talk. Dinner in a pub, walking to the bus, languages galore-international city. The Dublin Post office-I am reminded of The Easter Rising-what history I have been allowed to see...wondrous city.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I just finished reading the chapter in my philosophy book regarding Post-modernism. It definitely caused me to pause and ponder. There is so much emptiness in philosophy, but it is pursued by individuals who, I believe, are genuinely seeking true life and meaning to existence. Why then do so many find only circular philosophies that leave one without meaning or life? But, philosophy requires reason and we are intelligent beings gifted with reason. We are left with the keys to knowledge and with that comes power, responsibility. We have been given much in the form of ourselves, but even more in the person of Jesus Christ. He has done much and given all, and we must give up to receive all. We have been given much in the realm of reason and philosophy, but we are offered life in the person of Jesus. He has reached down through the heavens to rescue us, but it is our responsibility to respond. This response, I believe, transcends salvation and reaches into the daily surrender that must take place for true life to emerge. We must die in order to really live-now cause that to make sense in philosophy...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cows and books

Obligingly they dip their heads to feed and chew
Their bodies automatically filling their bellies
Their hunger is insatiable
They eat, chew, digest and absorb
Similarly, we lower our heads to our books
Drinking in knowledge and wisdom
Insatiable is our hunger
We cannot ever attain enough to be fill
We eat, chew, digest and absorb
We are like the cows
They eat
We eat
They must
We must
We are the same, but not at all...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The chains that bind

Materialism. The word sickens me because of its truth. I am suffocated by the presence and overbearing realness of the material world in which I reside, but even more so by my own tendency to succumb to its deadly clutches. Everywhere I look I see it, the demon of materialism. It lulls humanity into a false security-promising happiness and fulfillment, but it leaves only rotting emptiness. We clutch, grab, snatch and madly fight to possess it, to capture it, but always and forever it eludes our grasp and vanishes into the realm of impossibility. Clothing, houses, cars, all things material are temporal and weak, empty-it will all leave us alone with just ourselves with nothing to offer us comfort if that is all we possessed and looked to. If we turn to this demon for happiness we will ultimately find despair and hollowness. I can attest. I attempt vainly to capture some sort of permanence or security by means of materialism, but am always left completely empty and without fulfillment. It is all the same, a guise of unique individuality. It wears the mask of beauty and fashion, but the ugly reality beneath the mask is mass commercialism and anything but individuality. Things will rot and decay, clothes will go out of fashion and we will always be continually trying to keep up with the impossible demon of materialism. If we, if I attempt to fight him and win, we, I am doomed to failure...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Castles and rainy days...

I think our time here is finally progressing into the type of weather that most Native Irish people are used to: cold, wet, and rainy. We gathered together in the "eating" house for a warm lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. We talked about the semester, while sipping cups of wonderful Irish tea. We are all amazed at just how little time we have remaining. The rain is falling against the window, making the indoors and my C.S. Lewis book all the more appealing. Jordan and Madysen are down stairs baking cookies while listening to Christmas music; the scene is truly picturesque...
We visited Hillsborough Castle this morning, the visit having been arranged by a member of Parliament, whom we met while visiting Stormant (Northern Irish Parliament) earlier this semester. This tour was exceptionally enjoyable. The man who showed us through the house, David, has seen many great and powerful people pass through its doors during his time there. He is essentially the caretaker and housekeeper. He has met and assisted the Dali Lama, President George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blaire, The Queen of England and many more. The house itself carries much history and significance in light of world events and decisions made. President Bush and Prime Minister Blaire met and decided upon the invasion of Afghanistan in the library where we stood. The picture of their meeting resides in the room, giving testimony to the fact. Many powerful people and many great decisions took place in that house, and we were fortunate enough to tread where those events took place...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nights in Ireland...

Today was C.S. Lewis day. We attended the church where he was christened and spent his "formative years" as the bulletin stated. It was also remembrance Sunday, which commemorates those who gave their lives in the two great world wars. It was a Church of Ireland service (similar to that of a traditional Episcopal church). The church was dotted with individuals in military garb and there was a general moment of silence in which to remember those lives were lost. It was a beautiful service, but I fear that routine and mechanical behavior set in around the time the actual sermon began and I might have fallen asleep! I met a women from Connecticut after the service who had married an Irishmen and moved across the ocean to live and love. She told to never fall in love with an Irishmen, "they will never move" she said. We visited a famous sculpture by an artist named Ross Wilson, who we were actually fortunate enough to meet early upon our arrival here in Ireland. It depicts Lewis's wardrobe and Diggory, the first boy in Narnia-it was magical...
We also visited the hotel where Lewis is said to have taken his honeymoon with Joy, his wife. It was wonderfully quaint and pleasant, with a fire going in the reception area. We visited various other little small Irish towns Lewis is said to have visited and stayed. It was bitter cold and many of us were not properly dressed for such weather, so we took the long bus drive home with Hadden to Betty and her wonderful cooking, which was sinfully delicious and far too indulgent. We listened to Hadden read his poem about a kiss in the dark; it was hilariously funny and witty-I love Hadden...
Hadden then drove us all home in the dark and shadows. It was only nearing six, yet the sky was completely dark and the windows of the bus were fogged with steam. He played lyric Irish music and we clapped and sang along-it was brilliant. He also played a poem of W. B. Yeats put to music; it was hauntingly beautiful. I will miss this place...

Friday, November 9, 2007


I am far too reliant upon people and circumstances for my happiness. I seek to often the fleeting affirmation of fickle individuals and ever-changing circumstances. I look to others for my value and not to the face of my true love, Jesus. How I must hurt His heart! I yearn so passionately for recognition and pursuit. Yet, I already possess it? Why then do I run towards emptiness. I cannot seem to rest in the arms of my first love and great pursuer. I hate that people have the ability to control my feelings and emotions. I despise, but love my reliance on individuals. We are meant to be in community, but the fickleness of humanity makes it difficult to ever be safe. I must run to the One who will never fail...only then will I be safe.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Amazing Grace

Beautiful, glorious, amazing grace...we were just assigned our final research project in our literature class and I could not be more excited. Professor Bingham gave us a most relevant topic: our assignment is to trace the story of William Wilberforce and his Christian faith which helped lead him to become the conscience of the British people. Flipping awesome! I feel like Jesus speaks in such mysterious ways...We watched a documentary in class today regarding modern slavery and my heart was gripped. The slave trade has not been completely conquered-thousands around the world still live within the bonds of slavery. William Wilberforce was a single man, but a man called of God. He tenaciously fought to end the horrors of the slave trade; he did not give-for over twenty years he worked and labored to end the trade and possession of his fellowman. What is God calling me to? I am just one girl, young and naive, but why could he not use me for His purposes? I have passion for his people and more than that, for freedom, both physical and spiritual. I surrender what I have for His call-may I be prepared for what He gives me...

The morning...

The Mournes are shrouded in cloud, the bay is filled to the brim and the sun is teasingly peaking through the clouds at intervals. The mornings are quite dark now. I awoke thinking it was very early, but looked at my clock, only to find that it was already ten. I do not know how my soul is going to part from this place? I feel I will be eternally discontent for my second home. This place has been where Jesus has rejuvenated my mind and soul. I long for friendships at home; however, I will ache to be here again-I ache at the thought of leaving. But, life is seasons and this was a wonderfully glorious season, for which I must thankfully continue on the road of life. Ireland will forever be in my heart and that I cannot forget...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And the world goes on...

The sun sets early here in Northern Ireland. It takes me off guard every day when I witness the blazing sun begin to retreat behind the Muron Mountains and bid farewell to the world at half past three, nearly four. It always takes my psyche a significant amount of time adjust to the changing of the seasons and the ever-shifting mood of the sun. I have never experienced such short days in my life before being here. I have learned to absolutely chase the sun and bask in its glory for all I'm worth until I can do it no longer. With these short days has come the cold. Fall has truly come to Northern Ireland. The almost naked trees are a testimony to the time and season in which I find myself in this beautiful place. I still make myself go out for walks, despite the cold, because it will only get worse. The path I choose to walk takes my breath away daily and astounds me further at God's creative genius. The creatures that I encounter upon such outings remind me that God cares for all living things, and that He especially cares for me, His child. The colors of this season are absolutely delicious. The burnt reds mingle with the mustard yellows and cooperate in a world of blissful color. The season of fall brings with it shorter days and colder weather, but it is also accompanied by the vibrancy of color and the reminder of ones own relevance in the world. The seasons change and progress-that we would stop and survey His wondrous creation and its beautiful manifestation of life and its cycles...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some new moves

I learned some new moves tonight. I spent some time with my new friends from Murlough house. The people that live and work at Murlough house (a house of ministry) come from all over the world and represent various nations and countries. The girls I hung out with tonight are from Jamaica. They are a blast to spend time with! Shasi and Dana taught me some Jamaican dance moves-it was freaking awesome. We shook and moved, sweated and laughed, and did it all to Reggae Gospel music. I felt privileged to be allowed to experience their culture in the form of dance. They even said I had great rhythm! Dancing transcends verbal communication and speaks to the soul of a person. Jamaican dancing definitely speaks to my soul!

Why I have hope

A new day...

Newness and rejuvenation come with the morning. The sun rises and brings with it hope and awakens joy. The night of sadness and darkness recedes, melts and is replaced with the goodness of light and beauty of the new day. However, this newness, this rejuvenation comes, but there are still storms and trials. One cannot live in the newness always, but must trek through the muck and trials of life. Mr. Lewis refers to pain as being the megaphone God uses to speak (roughly spoken) and to this I agree. If we are not pained and put through difficulties, for what reason do we have to reach our feeble hands upward towards a Saviour? Oswald Chambers talks of identifying with Christ and says that "God's way is always the way of suffering, the way of the 'long, long trail.'" Thus, we must be partakers in Christ's suffering...we must lay down our rights to gain freedom-paradox? Yes...
Pain will come and it will mold, shape, break...but then we will be made new. His way is suffering, but it also freedom-losing oneself to find true liberty-odd thing Christianity...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My heart

I am alive
Free falling
Empty space
I am lost
There is nothing
I grab-only emptiness
I find only facades in the dark
My tears drown
My heart is racing
I am alive-but only in part
It must be parted from me
I have to part from what makes me live and breath
My life source must be given
So that it can be found
My heart breaks with the pain
The pieces mingle with the tears
I am caught-held
I cannot breath for want of air
The tears become a flood
The broken pieces are gone
My heart is whole again
I am new
I am alive...

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Presence of God

The name of the study is Lydia, named for the Lydia of the Bible. We read a passage of Scripture, out of John specifically. Then, we took about twenty minutes of silence to reflect, meditate and pray about the passage after reading through it again. We then came together as a group (only women) and shared our thoughts, insights, perspectives-which all differed greatly! After this we prayed together-oh the Spirit was present! He moved in our hearts and spoke to us individually and wonderfully. Hearts that want to serve Him and love Him fully are beautiful things. Passion and the all-consuming love of God in women of God is incredible-so encouraging! We are to die to self. We must learn to hate this life in order to find true and everlasting life in Him-such a paradox of truth! Our nature rejects such concepts. We are self-preserving beings, why would we want to lose ourselves? But, that is the way, that is where followers of Christ are called: to lay down ones rights and die to live. The phoenix is brought to new life in its own death and ashes, so must we find life anew in death-only then can we truly live...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I am overwhelmed. The goodness, the vastness, the hugeness that is my God envelopes me. My soul is full with His presence. I am so small and insignificant, yet His great and mighty plans somehow include me. What a mighty and gracious God! I am staggered by the bigness of the Lord. Everywhere I turn, He is there. In everything I look upon, He is present and active. He is always working, always shaping, molding, crafting, refining. I am continually in the presence, the process, the period of being made more His perfect child. I am so ashamed of my sin, my wretchedness, my worthlessness, but it is all this that draws Him to me. Through weakness, through brokenness, He is made bigger, greater, and stronger. I revel in my weaknesses because of this truth. He is all encompassing and I want always to be in His great presence-for in it I am made His.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The church is so divided in this time. Denominations set the body apart. Issues such as baptism by immersion or sprinkling, speaking in tongues, and the manner communion is served cause divisiveness. Personal preference seems to override our true allegiance. I am the worst culprit of this crime. I seek my own comfort and fulfillment in worship all to often. I want my way, not God's way. I hate how the body fights and quibbles over technicalities. The enemy rejoices over such division. We cannot serve ourselves if we wish to be unified. Whom do we serve-ourselves or God?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Battle, fight, war-all happening inside me. I want what is right and what is wrong. I desire goodness, mercy and simultaneosly evil and fleshly happiness. There is nothing good in me-wretched and evil is my nature-I can want nothing apart from darkness and flith. I am a dirty, ugly thing, wallowing in the muck and mire of my own desires. I struggle and push against the cords that bind, rip and keep me from freedom-self forged are some of these cords. I gasp for breath and the air of life. I can taste, see and almost touch it...I myself push it away and sink back into the pit. A hand reaches down, down into that pit-I am lifted-air, life, liberty. I am helpless, useless and without strength. This hand, this giver of life is my strength-life and freedom. Nothing did my efforts prove-all His...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An new road lies ahead...


I hate the emptiness that preempts separation. There always arises within me an unbearable sadness, when thinking and preparing to part from those I love, those close and familiar. It is the kind of hollowness that occurs upon leaving relatives after a wonderfully long visit. It is the sadness and emptiness of a dormitory when all its occupants have scattered to the winds for holiday. It is the loneliness of a home or room of a loved one, when they have vacated your life yet again. It is the emptiness that people leave. Places and occasions hold little significance when not accompanied by human fellowship. I hate the separation and emptiness which ensues upon such occasions, but the beauty of life is that reunion is eminent, both now and eternally...

Monday, October 22, 2007

An Irish Library

I was in awe as we entered. There were shelves and shelves of endless books, all old, all beautifully rich in history. There was a lingering smell of dust and the ancients, these books had seen a great deal. Many eyes had past over the words contained in these pages and many hands had caressed their leafs. A rod iron staircase ascended to the second floor, where even more books were housed and kept by the keepers of the library. I was in heaven. I wandered and gazed in ecstasy at the countless volumes of great literature, Christian theology, scientific thought, and historic records. I selected a few precious volumes and sat absorbed in their pages for a space. Time passed unnoticed, until I was roused from my revere, by the announcement that our group must depart. I sadly ripped myself away from this glorious haven and entered again into reality. I will return, however, to this wondrous place that is the first public library of Northern Ireland. What a glorious thing, books...

Yeats and his epitaph

Another quote...

"The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar,
From the shore of our sorrow"


"We look before and after
And pine for what is not.."


Walking is a wonderful art to practice. It allows one to survey the land and surroundings and it leaves space for thoughtful reflection and prayer. There is something therapeutic in simply strolling along, watching the world around. Creation and its beauty are nearer and more keenly appreciated in such an activity. Walking provides exercise for the body as well as the mind. It seems one can walk infinitely, being lost in thought, and rarely realize the distance covered. Two able legs and an active mind provide one with a priceless outlet of recreation and contemplation, right outside ones front door...

Sunday, October 21, 2007


The God of creation is beyond gracious. In His perfection, He reaches down from his heavenly throne, into the mire of sin and death, withdrawing me His redeemed child. How does one deserve such love? That is the beauty-I do not deserve it, nor does anyone deserve this gracious gift of life and redemption.
I am bogged down in the muck that entangles my spirit. I wallow in lies and vomit anger and bitter resentment, yet He hugs me close. I easily believe the lies and yet His grace abounds; my spirit is incredibly humbled and grateful. I doubt, yet He persists. I look to all other forms of fulfillment, yet He patiently waits. He is my friend, compatriot, lover, and gracious father....He is my Jesus.


Separation is often necessary in life. Withdrawal from the daily ritualistic routine of life allows for reflection and sanity to reinstate. If one is constantly living within the humdrum of daily living and never steps back to evaluate life and its inner-workings than how can one ever grow? Perhaps a thing is being gone about in entirely the wrong way, and because it is never investigated from afar, it is never remedied-dreadful reality. Life is almost entirely about perspective. If ones perspective is constantly subjective and there is never an opportunity for objective observation, than stagnancy will occur. Withdrawal and contemplation are essential. Separation brings with it sanity...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The concept of identity is an ethereal "thing." What determines ones identity? Where does one place their security? Material possessions, physical appearance, intellect, independence, relationships-what? The nature of all of these things is that they are temporal; they are ever-changing and altering. Things that flux are not generally safe to place ones identity in. Yet, most humans do this very thing. We look to all that will ultimately leave us empty and unfulfilled, yet we persist in this course of tenuous identity. I tire of placing myself in things that change and shift. It wearies my spirit to be so uncertain and ever changing. I desire stability and Constance. I want to be secure in my identity. I know it is possible, but much is first required of me-namely my surrender....a thing I am still loath to part with. Which is it then, my identity or my will-the choice is ours.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The land...

The beauties of Northern Ireland are simply, and please ignore, the cliché, breathtaking. I am amazed daily at the natural splendor in which I am being allowed to live and learn. I have awakened every morning to the beautiful sunshine of the Northern sky greeting my tired eyes. I sit in class, discussing great Irish poets and playwrights, while watching our small bay fill with the water of the Irish Sea. The sun glints off of the water, sometimes blinding those sitting opposite the window in the lecture house. The Murron Mountains greet my eyes morning and evening in their immensity and grandeur. They have become a faithful and constant friend. Sometimes their peaks are shrouded and swallowed in cloud, preventing full perspective, but the mist creates its own beauty and mystery.
The Irish Sea coast is but a walk or a bike ride away from our homes and the path to its shores evokes awe and wonder, without fail. The wildlife that greets you along the way to the beach often makes me smile in amused humor. The seagulls sing to my heart and the oddly placed cows dot the path and the road along the way. The latter creatures often prove to make the journey to the beach rather interesting: sometimes blocking the road or simply making funny noises in greeting.
Riding along in a car offers the viewers the picturesque images that are common to anyone pondering the landscape of Northern Ireland. The Green pasture lands are endless and beautiful. Plots of land are separated by stone walls or green hedges, providing the farm land common to Ireland. Cows, sheep and various other livestock graze and feed on the luscious, green grass. The sun plays off of the land and through the trees, creating a magical effect, almost any time of the day.
The beauty of this land is not able to be captured in mere words. Sight and memory are far better tools, but I must attempt with my weak words to communicate God's beauty and glory in the creation in this place...

The Hobbit

I had just arrived home from an outing with the group. I was tired, ready for a cup of tea and a nap, but something inside me-Jesus perhaps-told me to go for a walk. I resisted the feeling, asserting to myself that I had no need of a walk. The feeling, however, persisted and I chose to obey. I strolled along main street Dundrum, enjoying the stares of passing cars. I cut through a path in the woods and strolled at my ease. I picked a wee, yellow flower and inhaled its scent-it smelt like the most natural of perfumes. I strolled on. As I emerged onto the road that led through a neighborhood, I noticed a small figure approaching in the distance. He came from the woods of Murlogh. He was small and somewhat stout. I could tell little until he came closer. He carried a large pack upon his back and wore a hat upon his head. He had quite a beard and smiled sweetly at me as we passed each other. I turned my head to gaze after him and was struck instantly by his stature. This then spawned a new thought, "he is just the size for a hobbit-well, perhaps a larger than average hobbit...." Nonetheless, I believe I was encouraged to go on a walk for many reasons that day, but one of them encompassed being able to glimpse, in the flesh, a real, live, hobbit. My imagination or not, so it stands...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The internet...

Technology is a paradoxical thing. If offers such conveniences, and essentially makes life so much easier. However, there is a catch, as with all things. Any good thing can easily be turned into something devilishly evil. The absence of something generally makes one appreciate it far more when that thing is restored, but perhaps that thing wasn't all that good to begin with? I am discovering that Internet is very much a two edged sword. Modern society is so used to its conveniences and life is difficult to imagine without such technology. But, this wonderful invention creates such distractions and horrible alternatives to real life that I cannot deem it wholly good. It does prove wonderfully convenient at times, but it draws the life out of humanity. It zaps hours, days and even years of our lives. It provides so much at out very figure tips, yet how often do we truly use it for beneficial, and I mean truly beneficial means? It has endless possibilities: It can enhance ones knowledge, or degrade the mind. It can provide new avenues for the imagination, or dull the intellect. One must approach such convenience with caution. It has grave consequences. I sound harsh upon this topic of Internet and technology, but I fear the ramifications are great. Since being without this convenience the past month or so, I feel more able to objectively evaluate, but give me a few days or weeks and it will have me in its clutches again, lest I fight back against complacency...

Monday, October 15, 2007


Coffee is a grownup thing. This cliché statement essentially sums up my feelings and sentiments regarding the dark, brewed drink of the adult world. I feel that it somehow by acquiring a taste and a palate for this drink; one essentially passes from the world of childhood to adulthood. It signals a right of passage, if you will. I sadly feel immensely grown and mature when I can proudly brew my own coffee and drink it with wondrous satisfaction or when I can order it at restaurant after a meal and sip it with pleasure. This "adult" drink has somehow brought me into a world of late night studying and deep conversations, early morning revere and much more. In reality, all of this existed before, but it somehow seems more novel and wonderful when accompanied by a good cup of coffee. I have arrived...where yet I do not know...

The "ship"

This thing called relationship is essential. Our lives consist of relationships; it cannot be escaped. We are born into relations and are forced to remain linked to those, our family, until death parts us. As humans, we generally form friendships-another form of relationship. As sexual beings, we also generally link ourselves to a member of the opposite sex and form a dating, marriage, or partnership-yet another “ship.” Very few people in any given civilization live apart or in complete seclusion, at least not forever. Life is commonly spent in communities, building and maintaining relationships. It is in these relationships that life consists.
Familial relations assist in forming and shaping our person-for good or ill. Friendships are another step in maturation. This type of “ship” is not bound by the same rules as that of familial relationship and thus places different expectations on an individual, producing differing levels of behavior and growth. An opposite sex “ship” is the most intimate of human relations. It surpasses familial and friend. Levels differ, depending on life position and the level of intimacy, but generally this type of relationship is the final step in the communal, relational stage of human development.
Essentially then, human beings are bound to one another through this thing called relationship. We are born into it and die in the bonds of the “ship,” and for those who believe in life beyond this present material world, we will then proceed on to the best relationship which encompasses the shadows of all other relationships. We will no longer want for any other “ship” in which to grow; we will have found our final and most fulfilling relationship. We will have come home…

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Things, things, things are everywhere...I am overwhelmed by the mass of people. I am a material girl-as the song said in a store I shopped in today. I felt ashamed. I do not want things to define me. I am myself, alone and in Christ without anything else. Why then do I strive for worth and value in clothes, things, stuff? I am lied to and believe-just like the rest of the world. We seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. We are empty and fill ourselves with further emptiness. Identity-where does it originate...who and what is my identity...?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Old Irish Women

They are funny and sweet, wise and quirky, they are old Irish women. I have met several since being in Ireland and they are all charming and adorably pleasant. They are infinitely helpful, loving and more than willing to stuff you full. They give you directions, laugh at your accent and do whatever they can to help you. They talk to themselves, read funny books and put on eye liner while riding a bus. They make you tea and squeeze your arm, they are in a word-precious...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The rainy days are beginning to set in here in Northern Ireland. You have to wonder whether its actually morning when you wake because there is so little sun to indicate the time of day. We have lecture in the boy's house and today was particularly rainy and blustery. The wind howled about the house, moaning and sighing its way through our studies. It matched well the subject matter-W.B Yeats and his inquiries of death and the after life. Our professor, Derrick Bingham, read with passion his lecture notes about Yeats and his life as the rain danced upon the window pains.
These days require an umbrella and raincoat for any out of door activities. The wind and rain chase you indoors as soon as possible, out of the elements. Tea has particular appeal as of late. A cozy house, a warm radiator and a delicious book are most attractive to the senses on rainy days in Ireland...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Autumn in the fish and chips shop

The first thing I noticed upon entering the shop was the mesmerizing Jack-O-Lantern which sat perched atop the counter, its face grinning facetiously at me. The fish and chips shop smelt strongly of grease and fried things. I sat against the window smelling the fish as it fried in the oil. Glowing, orange, smiling pumpkin faces tittered above my head in a string of lights. A hideous looking witch hung suspended in the corner of the window, welcoming the customers. The sly grins of the various Jack-O-Lanterns spoke of the arrival of autumn and the coming holidays. The first day of October, the harvest has come and the leaves will soon change, altering more than simply the countryside. This fall will bring with it change and alteration as colorful as the season…

Monday, October 1, 2007


It is a beautiful thing solitude. The noise of the world ceases, the voices of obligation desist and one is alone. The beauty of nature surrounds, its occupants, ones only companions. The expanse of the sky stretches out before, leading, enticing, and calling one forever away from the madness of the world. The ocean waves ebb and flow crash and recede, spilling over ones weary mind. Prayer outflows and a plethora of thanksgivings ensue. One can contemplate and reflect, think and pray in the quiet and retreat of solitude. No wonder Christ so often sought solitude...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Beach

Silence-silence is best when on a beach. Only then can you properly allow the sound of the waves to wash over your soul and mind. The undulating nature of the tide is a beautiful mirror of life and its ins and outs. Life fills and then recedes, just as the tide. One cannot depend upon consistency in life, which the waves communicate well. The sun reflects off of the water and brings warmth and purpose. The sea gulls swoop and dive for prey, their cry of life ringing in your ears. Tranquility and contemplation are aroused upon pacing the sands: each grain emulating the vastness of humanity. In addition, as one surveys the imprints of life left upon those sands, and then watches as the winds erase forever those impressions-one is reminded of the transience that is life. The beach is a refuge for the soul and solitude for the mind. Its silence offers what the noise of the world cannot.

Bikes and such

Adventures are only as far as a bike can take you. The beauty of ones surrounding has new meaning when being surveyed from the vantage point of a moving two-wheeler. The wind rushing like a spirit through you brings acute pleasure and the setting sun possesses new splendor. The sky flies past you, or rather you by it, as you pedal faster and faster towards your adventure-or perhaps riding is the adventure? Bikes and such are wonderful things…


Black and ominous they hovered in masses above. Countless, countless were their numbers. They flocked to trees and the unintelligible noises they uttered made one desire to speak their language. As we rode beneath this gathering, I somehow felt we were intruding upon some secret meeting. The scene was reminiscent of some old Alfred Hitchcock film and evoked the erring feeling of being oneself in a movie. The sun receded as we rode, shrouding us in darkness, and still the birds flew above. I do believe they were glad to see the intruders leave their territory; I too was glad to depart from the scene. I do, however, still wonder what they were saying…?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Country Karaoke in an Irish Pub

It was truly a unique experience. Our holiday homes are directly across the street from a pub called Maggie Murray’s, and every Friday night they have live, American, country karaoke. On the first Friday in our new home, the majority of our group decided to attend this intriguing event.
The DJ was playing honky tonk country music as I walked into the dimly lit pub. It was not yet very full, considering the early hour. I spied my friends and walked over to where they sat against the wall. I was quickly engaged in conversation by a middle aged Irishmen, who I had a very difficult time understanding due to his thick accent. He had worked in New York as a brick layer for five years and went on and on about how much he loves America. I could not honestly tell you his name, despite the fact that he told me about ten times, but I'm still not quite sure what he said. He was replaced by Donny, who had lived in Ireland his whole life and was quite sick of the place.
He was subsequently replaced by Dale, the young British army mechanic. I found I could much more easily understand Dale with his British accent. Dale found our "no drinking" policy quite interesting, but "admirable" he said. I noticed that many of the people in the pub had tattoos and a great many of them at that. Dale had a bit of one peeking out of his sleeve and told me it covered his entire back and front-oh my.
The Texans in our group (minus me) did a wonderful job of proudly representing our state and its infinite pride. I do not remember the last time I laughed with such force. One girl on our team, who did not seem to the rest of us to be the most outgoing type, stunned us all with a flamboyant performance on more than one occasion and song-and even spun Irishmen around at the bar to sing to them directly-it was an incredible memory.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The experience

I am baffled daily at what I am being allowed to experience in this place. I walk out my back door and am presented with the hugeness of the Mouren Mountains to my left, which conjure images of Narnia and perhaps even Middle Earth. I am within biking distance of the Irish sea coast, upon which I ran yesterday afternoon as the tide was coming in and crashing against the beautiful shore.
My housemate and I climbed the doons along the beach and then transversed the hilly countryside on our mountain bikes. In our explorations, we discovered the other side of the cove, on which our houses reside. We came down to the shore, resting our bikes along the path. We were both speechless as we took in the scene. The sun was brightly shining, but the rain was lightly falling on our heads, and directly in front of us was an unspeakably beautiful rainbow and its twin. It felt as if we were close enough to touch. I do believe we were as close to the foot of a rainbow that anyone could ever be, and I am sad to say, there was no pot of gold to be found.
There are so many experiences to recount...but I must draw this portion of the Chronicles to a close for now. I will resume when the world of technology is again available to me...farewell!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Home away from home

Here I am-arrived in what shall be my home for the next three months. I was struck by the quaintness of the place. A small Irish town, with an old cathedral, a main street, and homes right along the ocean. Our holiday homes are right next to a bay that recedes two times daily and occasionally will behind a group of seals and the singular lone fishing boat. The scenery is simply beyond my vocabulary. As I walk out my back door, I am met with a visions emitting somewhere from the minds of Lewis and Tolkien. The Mourne mountains stand ominously to the right of our homes, often shrouded in clouds.
Our group toured the Northern Irish Assembly just yesterday, which would be their version of the English Parliament. I felt extremely privileged to be experiencing what we did. We were allowed to speak and question politicians from four of the eight leading political parties here in Northern Ireland and ask them any question we chose. We were taken onto the assembly floor by two particularly flamboyant, young politicians; who also conducted us through many other private sectors of the assembly house. We even had tea in the room, especially designated for politicians and such-it was crazy cool.
I am still having difficulty taking in all that I have done and expressing it all properly. I hope to do it more justice in the future, but for now, I must sign off...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Emerald Isle...

Where does one begin to tell of this wondrous place? The plane descended beneath the clouds, revealing lush green farmland spotted with houses. This picturesque countryside was kissed with sunlight streaming through the clouds through which we flew. I had arrived-I was in Ireland. The waiting, the preparations were over, and now here I was.
Wonderful conversations were had on the plane and Irish friendships were formed. A young man and an older woman spoke of their country and my teammate and I spoke of our own. Stories were swapped and information was exchanged. Due to our unusually long hold-up in customs, the young Irish man, unintentionally made off with my favorite pen, which was quite unfortunate, well maybe not…
We have been touring continually since our arrival. We have seen the Carrick-a-rede Bridge (through a good, strong Irish rain), explored Dunluce Castle (inspiration for Lewis and his chronicles), listened to the great artist Ross Wilson (as well as chatting with him over a cup of tea), we have seen murals commemorating Bloody Sunday in London-Derry, and today we toured Devenish Island and walked through the halls of Castle Coole. Our days have been filled with delicious Irish meals (fish and chips and the like) countless cups of hot Irish tea, hostels, sightseeing, more walking than I care to recall and a glorious beginning to a semester of immersion.
I look forward with anticipation and nervousness to the months ahead and what they will house. I have already felt keenly the presence and working hand of my Maker and cannot wait to see His face more clearly through the lense of Ireland.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The present is a balance beam. All efforts should be aimed at remaining in balance and present, but constantly there is the pull and strain of the past and future. The allurements that these two possess are only shadows and deceptions of control. They whisper and lie, breading discontent and offering a pseudo control that will always elude. The past teasingly encourages you to dwell and linger on what now cannot be changed, and the future temptingly draws you to what can only be imagined and created, for it has yet to be. There will always be this battle for balance and the fight to remain present, and this battle must continually be fought-for presence is crucial to sanity and to wholeness of my humble opinion.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I would assert that the preparation for an event and the anticipation that accompanies the preparation is half of the excitement. A thing or upcoming occurrence conjures ones imagination and provides fun without anything happening in actuality. Packing for a trip and thinking through all of the details can, in my mind, offer an extension to the trip and the fun itself. In a way, you are there already in your imagination-experiencing mentally what will soon occur in reality. Such is the joy of anticipation and preparation...

Friday, August 17, 2007

About to begin the journey

This chapter is almost complete and at an end. Very soon, the next will unfold, holding in it untold adventures, unforeseen struggles, growth outmatched and more beyond. It will entail: separation, new horizons, friends to meet, ideas to encounter, life to face. I set out on this my new adventure with great expectancy. Let the chronicles begin...