Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kenmare, Ireland

Ireland was more amazing than I expected.  Jim was brave enough to travel by car on the left side of the road so we were able to see things most tourists can't see from a travel bus.  Kenmare, Ireland was our favorite place of all.  It was located in the southwest part of Ireland.

We stayed at O'Donnabains, a local restaurant and B @ B  in the heart of the town.  It was run by a sweet married couple, Jer, who ran the place and his wife Vanessa, the talented chef.  I noticed how hard both of them worked as a team. She served us a traditional Irish Breakfast every morning with a smile. Jer worked late hours serving the customers with a friendly hello and delivering the delicious cuisine Vanessa created.  But in the afternoon when business was slow, they sat side by side at an outside table going over expense receipts.  I witnessed a closeness seldom see.   It seemed they had a common goal, run a successful business with love and respect. I saw him talk to her with gentleness and love.

On Sunday morning I attended Mass at the local Church,Trinity Cathedral.  The place was filled with standing room only.  I saw grown men kneel in honor of their Savior.  No wonder the town seemed protected from the outside influences.   Kenmare had an innocence of times gone by.

We had a blast listening to Irish Music with an Australian couple with similar interests.  We were both empty nester's and talked about our grown kids.  He was a hard working fireman and she just quit her job to plan the trip across Europe.  It seemed making friends was easy in the layed back town of Kenmare.

Luss, Scotland

I felt my roots from the very beginning in Scotland.  My skin loved the moist air and rain.  I was wondering if I was Scottish or Irish.  So I asked the taxi cab driver what he thought.  He said if McPherson is spelled with Mc instead of Mac, you are probably Scotch Irish. Many Scots left for Ireland because of war between the clans or other reasons.  When they went to Ireland they changed their name to Mc.

 My grandmother always said we were Scotch Irish but I didn't know what it meant.  We stumbled across this amazing little town near Loch Lomand, called Luss.  I was reading the history and the first martyr of Scotland  died sharing his faith.  He came from Ireland by boat to share the Gospel.  I was a little surprised because Saint Patrick came from England to share the Gospel with the Irish.  He had been captured as a slave by the Irish when he was sixteen and escaped at the age of 21. Instead of staying bitter he walked in forgiveness and returned to the same country that held him as a slave.  The Irish repaid in love when they sent a missionary to Scotland.

 I went inside the beautiful protestant church that was built by a man who had lost his dad in a boating accident.  He built the church in remembrance of him.  It had colorful stain glass windows and the ceiling was built in shape of a boat to remember his dad.  I looked up and there was a stain glass window with the name McPherson on it.

"I am Scottish," I said with enthusiasm.

When I went home my m om got out the genealogy and Daniel McPherson came to the United States in the early 1700's from Scotland.  It was so fun to feel apart of history and learn about your ancestors.

York, England

My husband and I went to York  this summer, in northern England. The picture is of the church, York, Minister, rich in history.  We took a tour, one of my favorite things to do and learned the Emperor Constantine acturally came to the church.  He was the first Christian that was an Emperor of Rome and ended the persecution of the Church.  I'm glad that happened.  He had a vision of Christ so he believed.  Archeologists have researched the site so the tourist can go below the church and see the levels of time periods and growth.

We were blessed that the sun came out because it does rain a lot in England.  The town people thought it was a holiday and wore sun dresses and tropical shirts.  I thought I was in Hawaii by looking at the people's clothes.  A festival was going on so I got great pics of unusual things like a man dressed up like a plant and I saw a question mark running around.  I liked the pic of the man selling candy probably because I like candy.  I got to tour a castle that was turned into a museum, another favorite thing to do.  I enjoyed reading about the history of women doing laundry.

We ate the most delicious Indian Food I've ever tasted in my entire life.  During the entire dinner I kept saying this is sooooo good.  I wanted to hug the chef.  The owner was so kind and was from India too, so I imagine that's why the food was do delicious.  I wanted the recipes.

We also went to a Viking Museum and learned about the history of their voyages.  They were excellent at building ships and sailing.  Some people say they were the first to discover America.  We rode similar to Epcot Center, where the Vikings seemed like real people wearing authentic clothes and living in shelters from long ago.

I feel grateful we got to see such a wonderful town, on a sun shinny day, with interesting people and the best Indian Food I've ever had.  

Lochlomandview, Lochlomand, Scotland Bed and Breakfast

My husband and I stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast called, Lochlomandview, in Lochlomand, Scotland. This picture was a view out of our bedroom window and each morning at breakfast.  The breakfast was traditional with eggs,ham, sausage, and mushrooms.

We took a boat ride on the lake, with the moist fresh air blowing in our face.  I love the Scottish accent of the narrator explaining the history of the area.  I was imagining what it was like for my ancestors to live here and what their daily life chores must have been.  They worked hard for the food on their table.

The area is beautiful, with rolling green hills.

Who Inspired You To Love Food?

My Mom's kitchen is filled with warmth and love.  Her kitchen was made in the 50's with pink and black.  But I think the colors fit her perfectly and shes never changed the tile.  Every maple cabinet is filled with pots and pans, flour, English China, and of course her favorite iron skillet.  She says her kitchen is handy with all of the things she needs to cook with.  All of her spices are organized on one shelf so easy to find.

She loves to open her home for guests.   Every Christmas her Methodist Ladies Group comes for fellowhip and food.  She loves getting ready and prepares her latest decorations.  She designed her living room with her sewing machine from her 20's.  The fabric was carefully chosen from Cutting Corners and styled from her own imagination.

My mom is amazing and we all love her She did inspire me to love food and the good things in life.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm In His Loving Hands

Carolyn is blessed; she has felt loved.

She sat beside me for years on our familiar pew.  I knew she was a widow through our conversations after church.  One Sunday morning during worship I turned to glance at her; I saw  living water bubbles gushing out from her like a river of glory.  She praised Jesus with such passion and love.

As we were talking in the parking lot I asked," How are you?" Usually it was she who asked the question to me.

"I had a difficult week, my car broke down, I had it towed,  but you know its taking me years, but now I can say my first thought is, Heavenly Father you know what I need.  You've taken care of me for years and will continue do so in the future. Tell me what to do.  My first thought would always be I wish Jim were here, but now my first thought is okay Dad lets walk through this together I can do all things in Jesus Christ who strengthens me."

God provided.  He sent Carolyn  help through her neighbor who drove her to work and a mechanic who fixed it right away even when his week was extra busy.  One more reason she can say I'm blessed, God will get me through this.  When the love of her life died her world was turned upside down.

This is her story, I heard as we shared lunch after church.

She had a love affair with her husband for twenty eight years.  They met each other at a bank and for Jim, it was love at first sight.  Her hair was long and dark and people said,
"You look like Marlo Thomas from, "That Girl."

Jim sent Carolyn red roses and begged her for a date.  She finally agreed to lunch at the Italian place down the street.  She felt a familiarity as she talked with him.   She felt safe and secure.  Their love blossomed and Jim asked her dad for Carolynn's hand in marriage.

As their love grew their faith was united for one purpose, glorifying God.  They attended church at the Bronco Bowl and were active in the fellowship of believers.  They prayed together whenever there was a problem.

If she had lunch with a friend he always called to ask,
"Carolyn, are you getting enough to eat?  Are you having a good time?" He asked Carolyn because she was light as a feather. He was always concerned for her wellbeing and happiness.

Carolyn's mom and dad loved Jim.  They got together for family dinners.  He was there for Carolyn when her mother passed away January 31, 2003.

Jim's first thought was, "Carolyn I want to help you through this.  I know how much you loved your mother.  Let me give you a hug." It took every ounce of his strength to wrap his loving arms around her.
" If you don't mind I'm going to rest.  I'm feeling a little tired." He went to lay down on the family room couch.  As tears swelled in her eyes, grieving for her mom, she heard the faint coughing sound from the other room.

An alarm went off inside her thoughts,"I'm worried about you Jim? I think you should go to the doctor to get it checked out?  You've been coughing a lot."

Jim was diagnosed with phase four cancer.  One lung was totally eaten up by the disease.

The nurses asked Jim,
"Who are you? I've never seen anyone have so many visitors coming and going.  Are you a senator?  Are you someone important?"  His family laughed to think the nurses thought he could be a politician, but were grateful so many people showed they cared.

"I'm just an insurance sales-man."  He said with a  humble voice.

 He seemed to be getting better when the unthinkable happen.

"Jim your face is turning red?"  cried Carolyn.  She frantically ran for help. Precious minutes passed before the nurse figured out the oxygen tank was empty.  He was gasping for breath.  He took a turn for the worse and never recovered.

His last words were loving and kind,  " Carolyn, I didn't think it would turn out like this.  Just remember, no one has loved you like I have loved you. I want you to get married, you're young."

Jim went to be with the Lord March 28, 2003, just months after she buried her mother.

"I had 90 days to get my insurance licence so I could take over Jim's business." Carolyn didn't want to loose his customers that took years to build.  It took me three tries to pass the test.  Finally on the last try I cried out to God,
"Lord you know I need to pass this thing,  please help me."
Her mind was full of so many items that needed to be taken care of.  Her heart was bursting with grief over her loss. She cried each night as her hand touched the empty pillow next to her. Her heart yearned to be able to ask Jim, what do I do?  But in her inmost being she knew God was there with his peace.

" Heavenly Father I need to pay my bills and his business is the best way, But I also want to carry on Jim's legacy. You know how much I loved him so. God please help me!"

Carolyn passed the test and used her insurance license to carry on the family business.  She needed God's guidance to help with the financial records of the company.  She needed God's wisdom as her words flowed when a customer called about information on their policy.  She gained trust and respect from all who worked with her. They were amazed, 'How does she do it."

As we talked in our cars she explained, "My friend, Charolette said I wasn't sure if you were going to make it that first year after Jim died. If it wasn't for Jesus Christ my Savior,  I wouldn't be here today."

Trusting in Jesus were not just mere words for Carolyn.  She felt it in every cell of her being.  Trusting in Jesus and feeling his presence was her survival.  His peace that passes all understanding was there for her.  His peace was there when she was alone at night and yearned for her husband to lay beside her again.  His peace was there when she took over the insurance business and wasn't sure what to do.  His peace was there during every holiday without Jim to be there to share it.

Each day she is reminded of Daddy's love for her.  Carolyn wakes up each morning and praises God for being alive.  Her closing words to me were;

" Life is very fragile and it can change in a blink of an eye,  I've heard that expression many times and its very true.  Don't take anyone or anything for granted because it can change in a heart beat. I know because I've lived it."