Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Tucker the Third

Christy and I were at the hospital for the first time today. It was a less than impressive facility but we were happy with the staff we met. Regardless, it was wonderful seeing our new little one for the first time. Feelings of fatherly care and the desire to protect were washing over me as I saw our third child moving quite a bit inside Christy. We were pleasantly suprised at the newness of it all again. We saw hands flailing and facial features - wow. Thank you God for the miracle that is life. I really can't wait to be a father all over again!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roadside Rest

Welcome to Lough Owel, Co. Westmeath, Ireland. For those reading not from these islands, 'Lough' means 'lake' in the common speech. I stopped here moments ago for a short break before heading onto Diocesan Synod. I'm amazed and grateful that we've had so many days with no rain here. I guess it's a hint of the summer we should have had. Unfortunately it was the wettest in 80 years! You're looking at Church Island from the North Eastern shore. I can only guess that there was once a place of prayer there (it'd be cool if there still was!). There are countless places like this one around Ireland. Ireland must have the highest concentration of Christian places of worship per square mile over the past millennia and a half. I love reading the histories, visiting the old sites and imagining all of the people and stories wrapped up in them. What story is God writing with your life? Which kind of story would you like him to write? Psalm 18:24 from The Message has meant a lot to me in recent years. May you dream of who you might become and what could be as God inspires you today.

Crack of Dawn

So, as I was leaving the house yesterday morning for a long trip ahead, I took this shot of our dog of nine years named Abby. Usually she is the only one in our family who is ALWAYS happy to see me but it was so early in the morning when I left that she not only didn't get up to say 'hello', she didn't even bother to look my direction. Sensible dog!

Lands' End

Ah, Westport, the most fantastic Westerly town in Ireland. There is a real sense of other worldly-ness and town pride here. The people have taken great care to present their town well. It's a magnificient place with brightly coloured buildings, flowered paths and of course, the ocean not far away. I always find myself wanting to stay longer . . to just be still and linger on a bench while the world passes by for a bit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Balanced Breakfast

Blogging from a cafe on my mobile phone is not a regular thing for me. Nor is having a slow breakfast after a swim in sea water. But this morning I'm enjoying this moment of calm in an otherwise full week. I've brought a new (to me) magazine to delve into during breakfast called Risen. Risen exemplifies everything that makes me tick: savvy writing, culturally astute interviews, diverse subject matter and all with eyes on the eternal. Really, if you haven't checked out Risen - what have you been doing with your time?! This artistic endeavour bouys where the headwaters of the River of Life meet the ocean of human experience. Get there. Imbibe, soak, float in these deep waters.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shot on the Road

This is a picture of my favourite inland place in Ireland - South Tipperary. It's Lord of the Rings-esque with it's wide sweeping valleys, expansive mountain ranges and many trees. I love it! I could definitely wake up to this everyday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pathways Retreat

I'm heading up North tomorrow to lead a two day retreat with a bunch of year out peeps from Youth for Christ, the Methodist Church and our very own Church of Ireland Youth Department. I had thought I'd create a unique retreat for the group, but in the end I decided to go with the 'Pathways for Spiritual Growth' course I went through back in the Willow days with Christy. It was produced by Ruth Haley Barton and John Ortberg and is now called 'An Ordinary Day With Jesus' I think. It's a good mix of the ancient disciplines, pathways, rhythm / season of life and practical planning for personal formation. I like it because it's clear, clean and meaty. So here's goes another delivery with a new group of souls!

May God grace them with more freedom in their relationship with Him as we journey together!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And . . It's a . . .

Christy and I had a very enjoyable time out together last night. We were only away from the kids for two and a half hours but it was wonderful. I had really been hoping that we'd both be in good form to be able to have some good conversation and really 'see' each other after a period of just co-existing in the same home. Thank God we did! We set out to explore a brand new area and found a new place to eat called Dyson's in Portumna on the Shannon river. It was an excellent atmosphere with a superb menu and good service. We both put down two good steaks and I had some of the best white wine in living memory.

So, with Christy now at 33 years old what news can we offer the world except . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . she is pregnant with our third child due at the end of March! Woo hoo! Number three! I love being a dad more than anything else and I am so excited about welcoming another child into our family. So, now we are beginning the process of searching out suitable names for the little one. Names are so significant and are something to be 'lived into'. A name can speak to the person who they might become and the potential wrapped up in them that God can bring out. It speaks something of belief in the one who bears it. So, we will enter this process prayerfully, patiently and with discernment.

Loads of fun in the days ahead!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hot Rod Desktop

Just thought I'd post my desktop at the moment . . .

Where the Sun Don't Shine

At a meeting this past Saturday a friend pulled out a new gift he had received for his birthday. He recognized the marginal cool factor it held and was excited in a totally innocent way as he told me about it with enthusiasm. It's what some people affectionately refer to as 'Jesus Junk'. When I saw it I could not curb my comments - and with no disrespect to Jesus (as a close friend) - I proclaimed, "So it's true . . light really does shine out of Jesus' a**!" I think I inadvertently quelled some of his excitement. Ooopps! As you can see, it was a mini flashlight / torch. Our friendship is still intact - with Jesus and my red bearded buddy.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Soul's Rest

There is a tradition here in Ireland - North and South - whereby people give their homes names. I have to admit, it was a foreign concept (obviously) when Christy and I first arrived on these shores nine years ago. Having lived here for so long now, a natural course of assimilation has already been set in motion so that when we moved into our current home, I was strangely warmed at the thought of naming it. Now, there is a strong theological and historical premise behind names and the giving of names, to say nothing of the reality of the power our words have (more on that later), so in true fashion a name was chosen. Since we live in Ireland and I have a strong affinity to it's people, history and language, naturally we chose an Irish phrase to become the name for our home.

'SUAIMHNEAS ANAMA' [Soov-nis An-ama] was chosen which when translated (I'm told) loosely means 'Soul's Rest'. We chose this name because it says something of what we desire our home to be for our family, but also for every person who enters as a visitor or for a longer stay. We desire that everyone might sense something of the Spirit of God beckoning them and God's great love for them. So I spied a suitable rock amidst the rubble of our estate when it was being built and I asked the builders to delivery it to my door (which they graciously did) and I officially gave this all-important name to our little home in the midlands of Ireland!

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Word for Today

I gave up reading the Word for Today some time ago - not because it wasn't good - but because in many ways it was TOO good. The extremely brief, insightful daily offerings were very upbeat and somewhat 'name it, claim it' in tone I felt. Worse yet was my tendency to simply rely on Bob Gass's (the author) reflections on the Word of God to be my mainstay instead of working to get myself to a quiet state of listening to God for myself. In addition, I wanted to give the Spirit of God more leeway to communicate to me whatever it was I needed to hear and imbibe that day beyond what God had been speaking to good old Bob. Still, the odd time, I take a glimpse at what today's word is (according to Bob) and God does, in fact, speak to me through it.

My wife Christy told me I should read this one from last week believing it would be significant for me and - as she expected - it was. The excerpt is below.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wisdom of the Ages

Here's some ancient wisdom that I came across a month ago while in Kildare Village which, as shown, is from the Kildare Poems of the early 14th century. Truly something profound to contemplate . . .