Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
-Passing two women in the park and hearing one say to the other, "It's the dogs who are the sensible ones, not the people." I have no idea what she was talking about, but it made me smile.
-Two men attempting to put up a new sign for a hairdresser shop stopped me and one asked about the dent in the new painted metal sign. He jokingly said that it was the product of his co-worker's bad driving. "Would you notice it?" he asked with hopeful anticipation. I told him that you could barely see the little dent and it would be even less obvious once it was hung above the shop. Satisfied, he said, "yeah, and the rain makes it all blend together."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
-Walking around the Continental Market and looking at all of the different things from around the world with old red-brick Belfast city centre buildings in the background. I met my friend Neil there for lunch, and we hung out in a huge wigwam/tepee that was warm and cozy.
-Showing the Love Came Down video as part of our Religious Education lesson with primary students and watching one girl laugh and smile at it's quirky message.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
-One of the young people seeing a video of Neil's baby girl and saying, "How cool would it be to have Neil for a Dad?"
-Jessi emailing a glimpse for me to post:
"The true anticipation of a phone call! With the internet becoming what it is during my lifetime I sometimes forget how wonderful a phone call from a friend can be. My dearest friend Whitney is across the pond and because of the time change and busy schedules its often really hard to figure out the perfect time to call. She will be in her native land of Texas in just a few short weeks [only 9 days now!] and I cannot wait to be able to chat with her and hear her voice! We have so much catching up to do and its fun to realize how much I am looking forward to that call!"
Me too, Jessi!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
-The first sip of a corona that instantly took me back to a warm summer Texas day in my backyard at home.
-Discovering that Bible Works--the amazing Hebrew/Greek translation program I have on my computer--has classic commentaries and even the Westminster Confession on it. When researching commentaries on Ruth, Matthew Henry's made me laugh out loud when he discussed Boaz's readiness to marry Ruth: "But why was Boaz so hasty, why so fond of the match? Ruth was not rich, but lived upon alms; not honourable, but a poor stranger. She was never said to be beautiful; if ever she had been so, we may suppose that weeping, and travelling, and gleaning, had withered her lilies and roses." I hope I'm never described as having "withered my lilies and roses!" Ha!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
-Getting off the bus at the city centre to meet a friend and seeing a woman my age get off as well. As I waited at the city hall, she waited, and then her Mom (I assume) came to meet her. My friend's bus was late so I went on to the Italian coffee shop we were meeting in. While enjoying my oh-so-authentic cappuccino and apricot croissant, I looked up just in time to see that same mother and daughter leave the coffee shop. Coincidences like that are so amusing.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
-(An aptly prophesied glimpse by Tom...) While driving home from Sunday lunch, Tom, Pete and I noticed smoke coming up in great plumes from behind some buildings. Alarm turned to awe as we realized that it was actually an old-fashioned steam train emitting hot steam that billowed grey-white against the cold winter sky. I don't think I've ever seen a steam train in real life, so it was as bewildering as seeing a unicorn or leprechaun (which I'm still looking for, by the way).
Thursday, December 04, 2008
-My housemates know that I like whole milk and have just quietly (and kindly) adopted the practice of buying it instead of skim. Mixed with my dark chocolate Cadbury's cocoa powder, it makes the richest hot chocolate.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
-Arriving at the Blake's house for our Lord of the Rings fest and being greeted by the always friendly Goldie (the dog) and being handed a fleecy blanket and given a space on the couch. Curled up in front of a coal fire (which kept reminding me of Harry Potter--thought Sirius Black might just poke his head up in it), warm and welcomed, watching one of my favorite movies was just the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
-Leading the evening service and feeling really comfortable. We had a great turn out, and met in a smaller room of the church, which gave the whole service an intimate, friendly feel. I was really relaxed during my sermon, and even brought out some of my natural nerdiness, and people really responded to it. It's a great thing to feel like you can get a message across while being completely yourself.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
-Cooking broccoli, cheese and potato soup (which is so very good with white Irish cheddar and Irish potatoes taken from the ground that morning) and sharing some with my housemate Jonee. After devouring large bowls of it and sitting back contentedly watching the movie mentioned above, he jumped up and said, "You cooked. I'll do the dishes." Those might be my favorite words ever.
-Looking out of the window to see a blanket of frost covering the roofs this morning.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
-Going with several friends to see my friend Kellie's band play and having fun all hanging out together. Back in Decatur, I would often drag friends to little shows, and so I felt really at home and myself to be doing it here.
-Waking up to a really cold morning and indulging in a second steaming cup of tea.
An addition--I don't want to forget this:
-Yesterday I went to visit an immigrant family who live in the area to learn more of their story about how they came here, how life is here for them and what their needs are. As I left, 5 of the children gave me hugs, and 3 said, "I love you" with the joy of genuine affection and the pride of being able to speak English to me. It was a humbling experience for me: here I am, fluent in the language of the place I live, and yet how often do I use it to express love? I have much to learn from these children.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
-The hiss of piping-hot buttery popcorn. I'm a little popcorn obsessed...I think it's my family's fault. We always had popcorn in the afternoon, and I crave it several times a week. It tasted just as good as it smelled.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
-Preaching my first sermon as an ordained minister. Sermons are never really easy to gauge--you're invested in what you say, but once your words leave your mouth, they go where they will. I think I was a bit more nervous than normal preaching as an official minister for the first time and being in a place where I haven't preached before, so to have that hurdle jumped is great.
-Volunteering at Common Grounds, my favorite non-profit fair-trade coffee shop. I have a Tuesday night free, and thought it would be a great way to get to know people and spend time contributing to a place I love. I already met another volunteer there who's an American phd student in creative writing and the girl who works there full time, and they are both quirky, friendly and laid-back. I'm really going to enjoy the conversation, company and free coffee!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
-The fun of Northern Irish sarcasm.
-Instead of drinking my morning coffee while blogging & checking emails, I opted to sit in bed and read another chapter of my Jane Austen book while surrounded by warm blankets and pillows.
Monday, November 17, 2008
(view of Belfast and the sea)
(When my cousins Lee and Adele came to visit once, Lee sat on a rock on Cavehill and claimed it as her own. I think this is it.)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
-Going to Common Grounds (as usual) for lunch and asking Stephen what soup they had today. He replied, "Butternut squash, and it's really lovely. I've changed the recipe a bit--a little more nutmeg and some cloves--please let me know what you think!"
-Reading my Dad's blog and being amazed at the way he weaves stories together with subtle grace and finds hidden in them a deep, lasting meaning. What a gift.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
-A deep discussion on election (God's, not ours) with one of the youth--initiated by her.
-An hour-long Skype conversation with my parents, where we finally caught up with each other on everything. I can't wait to see my family at Christmas.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
-Hanging out with Veronika at St. George's Market and greeting each other with "it's so great to see you!" and "we have lots to talk about." It's amazing that, knowing her only a few weeks, I feel like I can really confide in her, and her in me. This is a real gift from God.
-Eating Cadbury's dark chocolate fingers that, (try to follow me) I used to buy at home in Texas to remind me of here, and that ended up instead reminding me of home tonight. How funny.
Friday, November 07, 2008
-Having a really long day and Jonee my housemate noticing my weariness and saying, "Wanna go to the cinema?" It was the perfect way to relax and recharge.
-After sleeping like it's going out of style (because of a night out til 3am with Nightreach) I wake and groggily make my way downstairs, make coffee, take the first sweet and rich sip and smile as it coaxes me awake.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
-Seeing Barack Obama become the first African American president (which is something we can all be proud of) and feeling hopeful, determined and inspired at the direction our country is headed and the person who will serve as our leader. I genuinely believe he's going to do great things for our country. Put in Northern Irish terms...I'm chuffed! Oh, so chuffed.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
"You'll be spat on, shot at, lynched, pacified with medals, spurned by backwoodsmen! Crucified! Naive, dreaming Adam. He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain & his family must pay it along with him! & only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!"
Adam responds, "Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
It's a deeply complex, multilayered book. I recommend it!
-From the first second outside my door this morning to when I arrived at work after a half-hour walk through the park, I was bombarded by cheery, "good morning's". What a great way to start the day.
-An old man who talked to his little dog lovingly in a strong Belfast accent, saying "Ackkkk, Ackkk houw are ye?"