Out…and over….

I slept with the window open so that i could look for the last at the beautiful skyline, and take looks if i woke up…and I did in time to watch the sunrise, and at 6:15 sharp to hear the seabirds fly in…

I got up, and had to make quick work in order to be sure not to miss my flight at 11:15. I wanted to be cleaned up, and do some final clean up, and then I came out. I  threw out some trash, drank my morning powdered mix—for which i was thankful everyday—I had no flare ups the whole time! And we were off. I hate goodbyes–hate them!

And we were out the door, thankfully only one piece of luggage on wheels and my carry-on sort of attached. As James rounded the corner of Smithfild and the Bus stop, the bus was there, it was to take me directly and unmistakably to the airport–so no chance of me getting lost…so I made a dash for it, gave the man 6 Euros and took my seat—waved to James and Laura and was off.

On my way I saw all the places I had wandered about days before, and even got to see the famine statues I was bummed that I had missed. I watched the Liffey go by and said goodbye to all the bridges…and for me that was the end of  it. For now…it probably the beginning  of some other things…I did sit by a pro violinist on the way home–oh what a conversation…but this is where I will end.

Thanks for reading…if this is the first post you get to, then I could not reverse then and put them in chronologically, so scroll to the bottom and read the post upward instead. Thanks for your interest, your prayers and your support!



Monday September 10: A Thin Place and My Last Day

So, in the morning we woke up, I was determined to still make a special dinner. I cut of the veggies, and threw them into the crock-pot, then quickly seasoned the chicken pieces with curry and ginger and seared them and popped then in…hoped it would not set the building on fire and walked away. I  ran to my room to fetch my backpack and what things I might need for the day away.Do not come to Dublin without a back-pack…that thing was a lifesaver!

Ireland Trip 119

We took the bus so we could talk and talk we did. well,  actually we talked on the train, called the DART, the LUAS, the bus system was down due to an accident and investigation, we walked to the train station. Then we talked. it  seemed  like that might be the last opportunity for talking,  and it really was. The rest of my time with them was a flurry that evening and the next morning. At Bray, James went on to Greystones, and Laura and I got off to walk and talk along the beach, and for her to get me to the place where the St Kevin’s bus was to take me on the forty minute drive to Gleann Da Lough…the thin place. if you ask me, Bray was a thin place as well. Laura loves it there and say this is where she goes when she must get away. and it was nice to see her eyes and sense the Ahhh of getting to that place where she can chill out. I could chill there too. It reminded me a bit of Cape May, as there are some Victorian buildings along the  beachfront. But Cape May does not have castle ruins that run form the top of a rocky bluff down to the water that are thousands of years old! I recalled many Irish ballads that I had heard at home, as we do enjoy The Tenors and also Civil War Discs telling or people an places there…that now I can picture so much better in my mind.

Ireland Trip 129

Over the Irish Sea I could see a rain curtain, and along the walk Mom’s or grandmas walked with babies in prams…

Ireland Trip 123

this was a beautiful place and We talked and payed as we walked—a foretaste of the upcoming Strolling with the Pettit’s trip that at this point I would highly recommend to anyone interested!!!

Ireland Trip 125


We saw a house that Laura liked, built into the hillside, and looking out over the water. It was up for sale and maybe someday…. it IS good to dream… I talked of a plan back I have had home for a week at the beach with other writer friends and artists who might be able to pattern their days after those of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her sister as described in her book Gift of the Sea” and Laura said in essence—Do it! Do it!” among other exhortations she has for me regarding my own art. Well, I wish that of I do rent a place at the shore for a “Gift of the Sea” Retreat, that she could come along…I like her some very much, who wouldn’t. I am so happy that when she might write an e-mail now and then that if she says she went to Bray for some time of reflection, I will know exactly what that means and other thing s that I might be able to read betweeen the lines now that I have have been among her people and her places, and I can say Do it Do it!!! I really look forward to such interactions.


Laura is an example of beauty and strength, of quiet surrender, and of hospitable entreaty. At times i could imagine being with her was perhaps what I might have been like to be with Edith Schaeffer. Along those lines, whenever I passed one of the many blackberry bushes I saw that day, lining the paths, i thought of a story I heard told by Steven Garber, author of the Book “the Fabric of Faithfulness. Told at the 2010 Laity Lodge Artist Retreat of being sent off with a pail to gather blackberries and have a blackberry lunch, by Edith Shaeffer, during this time at L’Abri…and again I mused at the felling of being in the presence of such a one as Laura is…and how undeserving I am of such a blessing, or the though that somehow after I get home I might be allowed to be a blessing to her…and how she was also mission gout on my full day of plans to bless her —but then I board the bus, at the MacDonald’s at the top pf the hill headed to Gleann Da Lough…and I realized that this too was all in the grander plan…

Ireland Trip 135

The drive opened my eyes, and showed me the Ireland I had pictured from geography and social studies, and from the window of my plane a week earlier. Sheep on hillside, low cream colored cottages, stone fences all grown over with vines until it appeared that all the field and pastures were bordered with privet. On there radio I heard Gotye “Somebody that I used to Know” and on the Way home Sine pence None the richer ‘Kiss Me” and it struck me funny, because i love these songs at home and know they are popular in Europe too. (note: one of the singer songwriter from the Songwriting group I am in back home Music Makers Community is opening for Sixpence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cmjjHuLdpM&feature=plcp  for a concert in my area!!! Congrats Suzi Brown!!!)

Describing Gendaloch would take days. it is the ruins of an early muedeval Monestery founded in the 6th century by an ascetic monk maned St Kevin. You can read all about it if you google search it, but I found myself again confronting the acestic in me as i comtmplated my boneheadedness about my own ideas about creating music especially as it relates to advice I get that steers toward marketability and an income stream vs being a maid and just sharing music as a hobby and that only wanting to pull form those i fell most passionalty about…i have a lot of ideas that might be up for some re-arraging when i get home and head two music Mecca Next week for some classes and meetings…any how that being said, music did not play the role that some people thought or rather assumed that it would as they wished me well and safe travels. It played the role that I had thought, none, because the focus of my trip was to get to know the Pettis and have an understanding of there doings and see the places they mention in their blog, and meet some of the people that are so dear to them, and get a better idea of how people can partner with them in their fruitful doings…to come along side and refresh and support,those things happened. As to me and to St Keven…poor St Kevin standing in the cold lake waters until your were numb and climbing into your rock bed just to keep yourself in check and di penance…wish somebody could have helped you out, but if you were as stubborn as me… I consoled myself for his sake that the stone structures I saw in the man monastery looked like they might have been about as cold as the slab in the cave overlooking the lake penitentiary….

It was rainy and the weather was so like what i had heard. Up until today it was actually sort of hot like home and i kept wearing the same clothes..the few that I brought just in case there was one warm day! Not only was it overcast, but it really rained, and i was soaked through my raincoat to the skin and my journal and brochures were soaked…for some reason i wanted to be rained on and soaked and experience all the this country had for me. I loved county Wicklow and could see myself camping out in the B&B or Hostel here. As i walked, a passing breeze would carry the fragrance of my grandfather Fishing village In Southwest Alaska, The water tasted like it was filtered through layers of sweet wildflowers. His low cottages stood with it wisp of coal,smoke curling up, in a spruce cove on a lush green hillside…i always wondered if Homer Alaska was like Ireland, yes, it was. But even in all the beauty my souls fights for a stone bed…and i received no stones this week, only bread… (not literally–I am gluten free…LOL!)

So, St Kevin Bus took me down the mountain and all the way into Dublin,Into Temple Bar again…oh no… I was to cross the O’Connley Bridge and find a store…well once again it took me two hours to take a 20 minute walk, and the LUAS>..I did not even bother—I walked the whole way…. what a disoriented dud! but I did end up in my quizzical quest, to find the thing i had been looking f0or for that friend’s daughter and some chocolate for my grown sons…so it was not for loss…when i got home Laura was surprised (and probably shocked) at my lateness, dinner was almost dried out, James was at a meeting, and the couple we were expecting had not even called…but as I dried out and we moved toward dinner anyhow, they called and arrived and dinner was served between 8 and 9 and they left at ten and i was so tired and getting a bit tense about my luggage that still needed to lose a little bulk to fit…i was in leaving mode and we were all tired and not up for any last minute talking etc…dishes were done and goodnights were said…

Sunday evening seemed like another day in itself.

Ireland Trip 105Ireland Trip 104Ireland Trip 106

So, after not being able to go to the Writers Museum I made my way home…for the second time it took me longer than it should have…but I felt like I was getting a handle on it anyhow, at least from Jervis area. Once home, we ate leftovers,and Laura and I sat down to writer out some kind of template for when people want to come to Dublin to serve artists and community here. The week was filled with when we get a chance, we are going to talk about this or that, and this one HAD to happen, or at least start here and be finished over the phone and e-mail. I cannot stress enough how much the Pettits lay down their day for others. their days are filled with people and relationships and serving… fruitful connections. The things that they want to do, they hold loosely and I saw them yield again and again and again. One would wonder given that description how anything gets done, but truly, I have never seen such fruitfulness in a very very very long time…this economy I am describing is truly not of this world. We have a great meeting–brief but on paper you would never know that–it tumbled out fast form a week of off and on broken but continuous conversation.

In came James from a meeting, and then it was MY turn to have my plans be changed. he said they would be in Graystones all day, which was a beach area, would I like to go hang there my last day…and I said no thanks, I had other plans. Then he insisted that I go to a thin place.” A thin place—what is that you ask…and I wanted to know… A thin place is here the earth and heaven are so close…I still tried to refuse, because I really felt like even at that point I had not really served them or refreshed them very well yet…I got a ‘lil whiny, and re-asserted that i had had a great time and that I did not come to be a tourist and all that…but but but…and looked pleadingly…

Monday was to be my last day. I had planned to do a few things while James and Laura’s had an all day team meeting in Greystones.  My plans were to shop and cook for a special meal with the Groves tonight, and to pick up something that I had been asked to find, a piece of jewelry i was having trouble finding, and then clean the apartment real well, since that is my gifting and I was going to plant encouraging notes for Laura about her pantry and some recipes we had talked about…But that was not to be…This was a plan I almost mistaken held onto. For some reason the night before when i was lost in the streets on the way home form the Abbey Area…AGAIN! I forgot it was Sunday, and I stopped at the bigger Tesco at Jervis and the LUAS station, and picked up the special dinner, because maybe it would have given me more time to bless and clean and pack my bags. I almost held onto that…

Ok, well James is a huge man, and only speaks when he is about to land some thing onto your head that makes you have to think, and often turns your thinking inside out so you can see any holes….to a thin place I was to go…which sent me packing…literally. I had to figure a way to fit my checked bag into my carry on in order to have no checked bag at all on my return trip, in order to skip-off in Philly at 2pm which was my first stop on the US and only two hours form home  as opposed to Newark NJ about 7 hours later and further drive home…I had planned this, but it was still no easy task. I also wanted to get the room cleared of me and all my DNA before I could sleep, because tomorrow sounded like a very long day.

Sunday September 9th

Up for going to service at CORE which meets at ST Catherine’s. http://www.corechurch.ie/ If you want to hear the sermon I heard, you can check out the pod cast. He started out with the most ear grabbing statement, There has been a division here at CORE…but not to worry to was a good natured joke about the X-Factor, and  that lead into something more important, about the vision for where they are going. One statement he made the burned indelibly on me was: When i was installed here as your Pastor  vowed that i would be your servant, but you will never be my boss.” Sounds like a threat, except that Pastor  Craig  is a most loving and kind and servant hearted man if i ever saw one. Meeting him that first day, and hearing about his life put so much into context. He asked hard questions, and loves deeper still. Drug addicts seem to be showing up at his door then to service them responding to the call. His wife is due for their first baby any time. Before the sermon was corporate worship that was long enough and simple enough for me to forget all the millions of ADD thoughts racing round in my head and get focused on the Object of my adoration…and I learned a song that could be the theme of my life that begins with the words ” I’m laying down My life, I’m giving up control’ I’m never looking back, I surrender all…” and later..This passion in my heart, this stirring in my soul…for all the world…” Uhm…this really was used to touch a kindred nerve in me and reignite something that has been dusty form the past year of pitching my tent as a singer songwriting in cafes…and from being sullied at times by the things that doe not go as smoothly as would be helpful….I asked for a copy of that lead sheet and am planning on opening my rehearsals with it….and learning to play it on my piano once I am free form typing and catching up on correspondence.

After service, we talked with a set of siblings in their early twenties, from Oklahoma, who were touring and staying across the street at the hostel top perhaps come to lunch. Interestingly this is a prime example of what it is like to have a passion for artists in your midst—of all the places these young people could sit, it was behind us. The two young men were filmmakers and the young lady was a photographer, and a fourth brother had gone off on his own to explore the UK, they would like to come over for an artist exchange… James knows local film makers who are actually working for a HUGE film company whose name you would recognize, but i am not sure I can say here… needless to say, e-mails were exchanged! this is the life of someone who is open to listen for the promptings and have feet ready to walk in the way of their calling…this was no random meeting…This is how I am employed myself at home…I know the crinkly feeling when a solid creative connection has been made, and then there is follow-up contacts and following an unfolding path…and we marveled…I am seeing the work first hand…it does not stop for the day of rest…we do not have days off really, though we either plan them, or we long for a rest and refreshing. I cannot impress uoppn anyone how it is with caring for people relationally. To stick to ones original well meant and thought out schedule would have closed so many doors this week.

For me, it is refreshing to be with people this kindred. I love the line for the Neil Young Song ‘look out for my love” There is a line that says, ” There’s alot to learn for wasting time…There’s a heart that burns, and an open mind…” waste of time, no way, but some might think so, because their original plans were ruled, or their routine has been rocked. I feel sorry for those that would miss the opportunity, in order to stick to their original plan.

OK and other meeting for James and Laura that evening at Abbey,

Abbey Church

so go with them as far as the two museums I wanted to go to that are just beside Abbey. I made it to the first, the Dublin Museum of art, but I was too late for the writers museum, I would try the next day…or so I thought.

Saturday September 8

James ans Laura had meetings today,but on their way they planned to look at gallery spaces, to plan color and lighting  for number 5. Everyone was feeling the aftermath of the explosive amount of physical labor the day before. I want to add here that I experienced good health the whole time, and though there were times when a meal had to be delayed or out off I felt no hunger because the fellowship and progressive relational -ness here is more food to me that tangible food. The  appointments and meetings and spontaneous interactions around here are so much more value than food, or the original plans of the day, or between working hard and the next thing—a second shower, something would arise…better to grab a few carrots and an apple and handful of almonds and run than to miss out on anything! The veggies here are so clean and beautiful and the meats are all really fresh and of good quality. I think they are all natural, not treated with hormones and chemicals etc…the meals we have had have been flavorful and like food should be.

So, we ate breakfast and set out toward a gallery. It was not opened yet, so we went quietly inside St Luke’s. These old churches are breathtakingly beautiful. Next stop was a sort of a bohemian thrift shop flea market called the Ferocious Mingle. The stuffed (taxidermy) monkey resembling the Phantom’s creepy little music box in Phantom of the Opera drew me in, of course! I wish it were closer to home, best suited to my tastes in clothing and decor, too bad it is three million miles away! I could have taken home dresses and dresses and a chandelier made for only candles…it was MY kind of stuff! Laura and I temporarily went into shopping la-la land while James checked out a small part of the place that was a stage area … there is music everywhere in this city! 

Ireland Trip 079 Ireland Trip 081 Ireland Trip 085

The gallery was opened, and we looked at the exhibit. Next stop was to drop me off, and then James and Laura had a meeting at someones request…lots of relational interactions, and they make themselves very approachable and available. This is why so much progress has been made in just none year here. The drop off was at one more gallery, the Chester Beatty Library, (museum.)  http://www.cbl.ie/Exhibitions/Permanent-Exhibitions.aspx It is one thing to read about papyrus being used for paper, it is quite another to see ancient manuscripts carefully preserved and light in such a way you could see the texture and just about imagine the feel./…I was transfixed, and that was right where they left me for the day.

Ireland Trip 089

I left that place and went to the park that is also part of the Dublin Castle grounds. I had lunch in the shade of a slab or marble, and sitting against it’s coolness. I have experienced summer-like clear weather this whole time…everyone is commenting how unusual it is. Most are wearing long sleeves, but long sleeves were too much for me.It was fun to just sit there and have lunch,and journal about my day so far, and all my thoughts. Not ALL my thoughts are in this informative blog. Many of my thought were about how it fells to be a stranger in a foreign land.

Ireland Trip 095 Ireland Trip 097Ireland Trip 096

After this, I tried to go to a Cathedral, that Laura really wanted me to see, and it was closed. I meandered through Trinity College, hoping to see the Book of Kells, but the line was too long and the hour was late. I searched for the statue of the great grandfather of a friend,to take a photo, but did not find it on the campus. I came out of Trinity Campus a little disoriented. I had wanted to crossover the Liffey and get to the Abbey Church area to tour the writers museum, but instead I went the wrong direction into Temple Bar…ok…except from then on it seemed I kept going the wrong direction, and when it came to asking for help, I was given either wrong redirection, or just did not follow them well. I ended up going so far out of town that I had to turn back, and cross the Harp Bridge—which it the last bridge in Dublin city! After crossing that bridge, I wanted to see the set of statures called the famine figures, i totally missed those. I thought I ought to do some shopping, and I wanted to pick up a small token for each of my kids, and a friend’s daughter…fail… mostly, then it took me hours to get back to Smithfiled. I finally got to Jervis shopping center and picked up groceries, then took the Bravely took the LUAS to Smithfiled. OH well, I got the makings for that night’s dinner and Sunday dinner as well.Ireland Trip 101 Ireland Trip 100

When i got home, there was a story to tell…how I got lost they did not know. I was not really tired, though i should have been. I was not mad that everything I set out to see, from the time we parted in the ancient manuscripts where I was in awe, I did not see one thing I wanted to see, but spent from who knows when to who knows when just trying to get back to home base. For some reason it just felt good to try, and also persevere.

So, the thought was about dinner, I was definitely feeling hunger. James was out or soon out to do a sound check down the street at the Cobblestone, so we delayed dinner until later, or I was starting dinner (Dinner and dishes were like the only thing I could effectively attempt to do as a blessing, as so much that needs done were things I could not do, like their communications and meetings —all relational things. Little did i know that I was about to enter that realm as well, because on the way down James ran into the two delightful people we had been with during language night. He sent them up, because his gig at the Cobblestone https://www.facebook.com/thecobblestone was going to be very late. They brought wine and chocolate, and immediately added to that was the board with cheese and crackers…and I was not sure what to do with dinner…at first I put it aside, and we watched some music videos on the terrace that were brought, and talked about them, with a glass of wine and the nibbles. Then it became a little chill, so we came in and I finished dinner…OH it was fun when they tried my baked sweet potatoe chips (US not chips but fries) and a version of garlic lime chicken that turned out to be more paprika lime chicken…my Russian friend really liked that…funny but i think I would rather have my cooking accepted than even me, but he is a chum now to in both of those ways, it was delightful to see them again, and to break bread. I want so much to do more of this at home, and am so determined more than ever to have an open heart and home for all kinds of people. With a large family, I host family often, but I am determined to take it to this level way more than I do…I have had such effectual inspiration here.

Ireland Trip 102 Ireland Trip 103

Our friends had to be going, and with one phone call or test, it was time to go to the pub. The first group was a blugrass group, and the singer arrived at curtain time and breathlessness, but she definately had enough breath…loved it! We popped out to the other door of the pub, as it is divided in half, so locals can hear local bands like the Prairie Dawgs https://www.facebook.com/dawgs.prairie and Sliding PK and the Junkyard orchestra, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slidin-PK-and-The-Band/196366457062223 (see James On Trombone–and with the accordion at his feet… awesome!) and trad, or traditional music. The trad music was a bagpipe with a smaller almost invisible bag Called Uilleann pipe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cillian_Vallely_on_Uilleann_Pipes.jpg ….and an Irish wooden flute,( no not a a penny whistle) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1zaRGafxZI violin and something else now i forget—Here is another example of how I did not take my camera. the truth is, that I do not like to treat people like an animal exhibition…and I often just leave my camera thinking i do not want to be a dweeb tourist…but thankfully links can be had for so many things.

Ireland Trip 115

It was so great, as in so many things I had experienced so far, to actually see and hear the things that James and Laura talk about on their blog http://jimandlaura.org . The music was both familiar and original, cover and originals…that is an awkward way to say it, using the words familiar and cover…aww just go see the website and listen for yourself, you will know what i mean! Sliding PK uses a unique technique of slide guitar…here all this time i thought it was some kind of all trombone band. James did trombone. Now about James and musical Instruments etc..I will cover that later. The set lasted till about 1 am, and as it was just down the block from home< Laura and I helped lug instruments to the apartment, and James went back to fetch more, and some of his instruments are stored at CORE where he also helps with maintenance and grounds, and has a key and rehearsals for the band are permitted…so he has a stash there. I regret not sitting still and quiet enough (my bad, and just the way life is here in the very fruitful interaction zone!!!) to get photos of James and Laura Apartment. Especially Laura’s canvases and James Instruments. I saw one trombone, on a stand, but not the one that he used that night, another larger one, and also an cello, and mandolin, and a ukulele at the house…I found out he has a degree in music…and here i thought he was just a horologist! NO! he does not read palms! Horologists fix watches and clocks! he makes door stops out of old clock parts, and can fix, (or destroy) just about anything. Laura is an absolute saint to live with someone who knows too much and knows that he knows too much—they are very fun to be with…made me smile and laugh out loud to hear them talk and sometimes banter in fun! Seemed familiar…we do this at home.

Speaking of home, Laura let me use her computer to check in on things at home, or i think i would have been days into severe homesickness at this point. This was the day my daughter had her first pointe class. Her Daddy fielded a last minute switch of shoes and other ballet moms who are dear friends sewed on her ribbons, and sent photos of the other girls teacher her how to properly put lace them round her ankles…This was along day…when I was asleep it was already the next day! And I am sure that I missed some things.473405_3988562550217_109843871_o

Trans Atlantic Musing…

Sorry that my blog posts while in Dublin trailed off the immersion of busy-ness and good works, and even one very full day of having my senses filled with a trip out to Gleann Da Loch ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glendalough ) via Bray and a beach front walk ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bray ) more on all that later, and chronologically…from now on i am writing from home.

Ireland Trip 202 Ireland Trip 192 Ireland Trip 214

I safely and rather comfortably crossed the Atlantic on 9-11. It feels good to be at home! The week before i left we were on family vacation. I was only here for 48 hours, and was off. Things like the sight of my red van, my red shuttered house under the two sentry maples,and dresser drawers -as opposed to a suitcases… Ahhh and the faces of my children! My how they grew in many ways! I was welcomed by their thoughtfulness by a huge cake and fresh lavender in vases throughout the house…and oh the hugs!!!

Since my kids have not seen me for a week, I have decided to stay on Dublin time and work on this blog when i get awake too early, so they do not have to see the back of me head staring at a computer. The next few weeks, the next 25 days in fact promise to be crammed…but i will not disappoint–I hope to have this done before i return to gather with the many friends that supported me in this journey! Here is the 5 minute video that i made for use as a report back to those that supported me. The song is the one that touched my heart so much at the CORE service: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5RzFrrdqcE

What is in a name?

I cannot remeber names unless I write them down. Until I see it in writing, and make some kind of conversational connection with someone, I am sunk. I have sunk many times the past few days. 

But here is a name I will not forget to use properly. Guess waht i found out? Jim is only Jim to his siblings and his sweet wife! Oops! NCFers take note…His name is James..OK, got that? I have been breaking the bad habit all day, and wish my kids were here, so I could default onto what I do what they are with me –to calling everyone Mr and Mrs, but I cannot do that now can I?

Just in case youthink I am illiterate, until i get home i cannot correct the typos on this here blog see, becase I cannot see, and my fingers are too dopey and the font is too small on this touch screen…I am thankful just to get the information down…now it is cursing along under some taskbar that is in the wrong place…so i am typing blindly…and trying not to curse myself!