Sunday, June 28, 2009

Glendalough, Ireland

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Today we took a train from Black Rock south down the ocean side to Phil and Cheryl’s place. They led us on a little adventure today. We were given a first class tour of Glendalough (Gleann Da Loch), which means “valley of two lakes”. In the 6th century, a vision inspired St. Kevin to give up his life of ascetic isolation and establish a monastery. He offset the austerity of monastic life by choosing one of Ireland’s most spectacular valleys in which to found Glendalough. Here are some pics. Phil and Cheryl were great tour guides sharing the exhaustive history of the site. They invited us to have dinner with them and some of their friends. Mariella ended the night playing music with the gathering. Tomorrow we rent a car for 8 days or so. Pray that I remain on the right…I mean correct side of the road. We will be on the road a while so we're not sure when we will have internet access to make a post.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today Craig and I had a marathon walk. We started walking at about 2pm and we got home at 9pm. By the way, all of these hours were in full light. A pretty awesome thing that happens in Ireland in the summertime; they sun comes up at about 4 am and doesn't set until 10-11pm. For example, right now it is 9:36 outside it appears to be ...maybe 5pm? It's awesome, no rush and everybody here loves this weather, it being so rare and all, so people here take advantage of it and come out and play. We walked along the coast today and in one small beach area, perhaps the size of crytal cove, there must've been at least 100 people or more..what I am trying to say is that there were a lot of people, my attempt at approximating people in masses is terrible so there. The people here are really nice. The women are beautiful and they all walk SUPER fast. I mean sometimes when I am with my family, they all give me a hard time because I walk too fast, well jessica,jennifer, and mom, these ladies here give me some serious competition.

What else....oh Craig keeps trying to talk like an Irish person, I think I've accidentally tried a few times too. It's funny, you just get a very natural urge to speak that way after listening to everyone around you for a while. It's funny though because Craig's accent turns Australian in just a few words and (Larissa, you've seen this first hand) my accent always turns into a southern twang-I have no idea why, perhaps it's because I come from the south..South America that is. Goodnight, friends. Now I will attempt Craig to take me out so we can finally have that pint everyone keeps bugging us about...ok maybe I'll just have a half a pint. PEACE

Friday, June 26, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yesterday we headed into Dublin, the city center. We went on a 20 minute walk down to the DART station where we purchased a train ticket to Pearse Station near Trinity College. Mariella and I decided to jump on the Dublin “Hop on Hop Off Bus” to get oriented with the city. This is a bus line that stops all around the city. We were able to jump on and off all day long while exploring the various areas of Dublin. While riding on the bus we met a nice South African family who were on holiday. We enjoyed dialoguing with them as we soaked up the sights and sounds around us. Some highlights of the day were sitting with my wife and having a delicious cup of coffee while watching people walk by in front of busy Trinity College where the “Book of Kells” is displayed. The book was penned around AD 800, four Irish monks squeezed multicolored ink from bugs and plants to illustrate a four volume edition of the Gospels. Another highlight was having lunch at a shaded park bench at St. Stephens Green, a magnificently manicured park. The park was filled with people enjoying their lunch break. Ken, the Irish man sitting next to us described it as an oasis in a bustling city. We enjoyed our conversation with Ken as we communed on the park bench.

Koinonia with Jesus, Phil, Cheryl & Mariella

Friday, June 26, 2009
The night before last we were blessed by great koinonia with Phil and Cheryl (Matt’s parents) who invited us over for dinner. Koinonia is a Greek word that means fellowship, sharing in common, communion. An example of koinonia is found in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” This transparent and genuine fellowship is something that Mariella and I long for because we have learned that it is in these moments where we learn by the Holy Spirit from others about what God is like and it causes us to become better followers and imitators of Jesus. Thank you Phil and Cheryl and thank you Lord.
I like the following excerpt from the "living word" (Bible), Philippians 2:1-2 “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
One thing that I was moved during our dinner was a statement by Phil. He said something that I never heard someone say before. We were sharing about our backgrounds, friends and families. In the conversation Phil a father, made a statement about his two sons. He said that the people he esteems most and his greatest heroes in life are his sons. Wow!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Arrived in Dublin

Thursday, June 25, 2009
We arrived in Dublin! The business class flight was excellent. The reclining chairs and impeccable service by the flight attendants was fantastic. Upon arrival we jumped on a bus and headed for Blackrock a coastal town 25 minutes bus ride south of Dublin. We are blessed by the hospitality of our friends Matt and Hailey whom we met while waiting in line at a Kenya fundraiser concert in Silver Lake (Near Hollywood) a couple weeks ago. They are letting us stay at their home while we are in Dublin. Thank you Matt and Hailey! Matt’s parents picked us up at the bus stop in-front of Goggin’s Pub. They were kind enough to show us around Blackrock and point out the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and the bus stops. They dropped us off in town to let us explore on our own. We picked up some groceries and walked back to the house. Matt’s parents have invited us for dinner tonight and we plan on venturing into Dublin tomorrow morning. Maybe we’ll start with breakfast at the Guinness factory.

Craig's blunder with Mariella and Nick Lachey

So we sit down in business class for the flight to Atlanta. Me (Craig), being super observant, notice Nick Lachey (mostly recognized from the band 98 degrees and his televised marriage to Jessica Simpson) and and his brother Drew sitting behind us. I do not really get star struck, but I have to admit I did think twice about the most appropriate way to say hello. So I thought it would be fun to have him take a picture with Mariella. I thought I would surprise Mariella by setting up a photo with Mr. Lachey. My wife loves surprises, right? So Mariella gets up to go the the bathroom and I go have chat with Nick. I introduced myself and he was very polite and introduced himself to me. I shot the breeze with him. I asked him about the trip he was taking and I told him about our global walkabout and some of our plans along the way. Then I was was rather forward about requesting a quick photo with Mariella. Out of respect I asked if we could take a quick photo as soon as we stepped off the plane. He kindly agreed. So I did not tell Mariella about the photo op. We end up landing in Atlanta and I grab my camera and tell Mariella as we are walking off the plane, I said, “wait here Nick said he would take a photo with you.” Mariella was not impressed with this idea and kept walking. I thought she would get a kick out of the surprise photo op. She was did not. Unfortunately or fortunately Nick and Drew stepped off the plane and were quickly escorted out the nearest exit away from the rest of the passengers. We did not get the photo! And sure enough there were some younger ladies from further back in the plane in a rush to track down Mr. Lachey. So Mariella and I continue to learn about each other. Mental note Craig, don’t set up surprise photos opps. with stars and not tell your wife about it.

9:22 am Still in LA, LAX airport

Only three hours in and we are already feeling the blessings. We arrived at LAX “late” according to Craig and “right on time” if you ask me. Yes, this made checking in a little hectic, the usual suspects: the frantic L.A. woman wearing crazy high heels, lots of makeup and on the run demanding that exceptions be made for her tardiness, the loud cell phone talker yelling at someone else for something they had no control over, and several others. But we made it to the gate and there was still a huge line waiting for us. We heard something over the loud speaker and I checked it out. Long story short, we took a bump in exchange for Delta flight vouchers, Business class ALL THE WAY TO DUBLIN, and restaurant vouchers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the airport. Only arriving 3 hours later in Dublin. AWESOME! Craig and I were so stoked and could only laugh at the extremely convenient inconvenience. How does that work anyway? I mean we all paid the same price for the same tickets right? So, why are some people guaranteed a seat and not others? We will make it a plan to figure out this strategy and use it to our advantage. (insert evil laugh)… Jennifer, I love you and I already miss you, I can’t wait to hear all about this next year when we return. I know God has great-I mean it-GREAT plans for you. I love you very much. Noelle, praying for you, don’t stress, I love you. Larissa, igh liebe digh. Jessica, you are already doing a great job being momma. I love you and I am so proud of you, take care of mom for me and when you hug her, give her a little nibble on the cheek from me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The backpacks

I think we are ready. Pack list: Backpack, 1 Fleece, 1 jacket, 1 rain jacket, 2 pants, 1 shorts, 1 long-sleeve shirt, 3 underwear, 3 socks, 2 shirts, 2 hats, 1 beannie (sp?), 1 sandals, sleep sheet (to keep out bed bugs), smaller day pack, Frisbee, hacky sack, Bible, maps, Europe travel guide, padlock/cable, camera, toiletries. And tent for camping in Ireland. I hope this will last for a year or so.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

about blogging? From a very new blogger.

Ok, so I think I figured it out. If any of you know better, please post something on here and inform me and all of our peeps how to. I think in order to comment you must first have a blog account. I am not sure if this means you have to blog or what, but when I sign in I am able to comment on other people's blogs, otherwise you can just view the blog and that's it.

I would encourage you all to sign up or sign in or whatever because I like to get comments, is that a good enough reason? I mean it almost beats getting mail, like real mail, you know the kind that the REAL person delivers to that REAL, not virtual, mailbox and the kind where you can see eachother's poor penmanship and love everything about it. yeah, I like it that much so, sign up or figure out a way to comment without signing up and say hello to us every now and again. I mean we ARE leaving for a while!

By the way, I got a new haircut, thanks Amber.

Monday, June 15, 2009

8 days left!

Well, those babies made it in time! Just last night Chris and Larissa had their number two, Jack. A week and 3 days ago Tony and Jessica had their first child, Luke. What a joy it was to be with both of these babies and to have had a chance to meet them before we take off, thank you God for answering prayers.

I can't believe it! I mean I am sure if you've spoken with me over the last few days you've already heard this, but really I just can't believe we are actually doing this crazy crazy thing. Perhaps that's due to my "here and now" attitude, I tend to be pretty great at being fully present in the moment, but if you want a planner, someone with forsight and direction-look to Craig. Regardless of our ability or inability to plan things out, the Lord has been ever present and ever so faithful to us. Just last week we met an awesome missionary couple from Ireland and we totally hit it off and had a hilarious time together, well a few days later this couple invited us to stay in their place (while they are here in the US) while we are in Irealnd...PRAISE GOD! His plans and provisions for us are far greater and exceed our expectations-why do we have the tendency to forget this stuff? Well, we know that God is with us and is paving the way before us, so this WILL be my comfort and Craig's comfort. Why is it that I fear whether or not God will provide even thought He has revealed Himself to me over and over again and provided for me EVERYDAY? God, I pray that this trip molds us. I pray that we would be used in whatever way we can be used to encourage and love people everywhere. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see your hurting and needy children. In your name, Amen.
Hold on tight guys, here we go!

Here are some pics of the babies, enjoy!
the black and white shot is jack, Chris & Larissa's baby and the color shot is Luke, Tony & Jessica's.

jack christopher & luke ryan (buddies to be)