Prompt: Favorite place you’ve ever lived or traveled to
1 John 3:18-24
It reminds me of James 3:26: Faith without works is dead. It’s not the faith that’s important; it’s what having faith leads you to do. From giving money to giving time, our works and their reception increases our faith which increases our good works. Similarly, when we love both truthfully and through our deeds, we, and they, come alive.
“Let us love in deed and truth.”
Remind me, O Lord that faith and love are paramount, equally deed and works will lead us to fulfillment and a deeper faith and abiding love. Amen.
”People talk about ‘finding’ their lives. In reality, your life is not something you find – it’s something you create.”
– David Phillips
Recently, an acquaintance of mine left for a trip to Ireland on a group tour. Her travels were taking her to Ireland as well as Belfast in the North and as far north as the Giants Causeway. She had been asking for advice, and I thought it would be helpful to share some of those tidbits here.
1. You will not receive a bag with your purchases.
Not even at the grocery store. You will need to bring your own reusable bag or pay 5p to receive one. I did notice that there weren’t plastic bags swirling around the streets in the breeze.
2. Bring an umbrella and a lightweight jacket.
We visited in August, and we wore our jackets every day. It was colder than I expected. As for rain, it will rain every day. Sometimes it’s no more than a mist that you would feel at a waterfall, but we had at least two downpours, and without an umbrella, we would have been soaked to our skin.
As I joked with my brother-in-law: Ask yourself if you’re still in Ireland. If the answer is yes, then you need to bring your umbrella.
3. Across the street from City Hall in Belfast is a large information center with great pamphlets, maps, and a gift shop. If you can’t get to that one, try and find an information center before you start wandering around. They are very helpful. Visit Belfast Welcome Center.
4. Around the corner and down the road a tiny bit is Carroll’s, an Irish gift shop with clothes, magnets, mugs, candy, everything and anything at a price range that makes something affordable for everyone.
5. The candy selection is amazing.
Even if you find something similar to what we have in the States, the use of local water and milk in the candymaking makes it spectacular.
6. Toffee. Eat all the toffee.
We can’t get good British toffee in the States. It is my go-to when I can get it.
Also, eat all the cheddar.
7. Visit Titanic Belfast. It is an incredible museum dedicated to the building of the Titanic. I think they did a really wonderful job balancing their pride for building the great ship and the respect for the lives lost in the disaster. They also have plenty of on-site parking at a reasonable price, a cafe, and a gift shop.
9. Botanic Gardens. One word of warning, there is very little parking in this area.
10. Wear comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of walking regardless of your prime mode of transportation.
11. Download maps to your smartphone or prints them out. If you can’t do that, get them right away, especially street maps, if only to get your bearings. We tend to drive in circles the first couple of days.
12. Carry cash. The general consensus is £200 to start and then use an ATM as needed.
Visa and MasterCard are taken at most places.
Notify your bank that you will be traveling and for how long, so they don’t freeze your cards when you need them. (This includes your Debit/ATM card as well.)
From personal experience, I would not recommend Discover. In the two weeks we were there, we found two places that took them. Not even the petrol stations did.
13. £ Stores. Poundland, Pound World, All for a £. The same as our dollar stores, but everything’s £1.
14. Petrol is in litres; road signs are in miles. I have no idea why. If you find out, please let me know.
15. Leave space in your case to bring things back without having to pay baggage fees.
Prompt: Favorite Restaurant or Bar
1 John 3:1-2
The cornerstone is the foundation, but it’s more than that. It’s the beginning, the first step, the mark of remembrance; the placeholder for all that is to follow.
When seeing the cornerstone, we see where that space all began. Sometimes there’s an engraving, a year of commencement or sometimes completion. A symbol highlighting the buildign’s significance – a cross, an open book. Letters: an engraver’s initials, an artist’s signature, a person’s legacy.
We trace the marks with our fingertips; we photograph all sides with a camera or even our mind’s eye. We do a pencil rubbing on vellum, but there are still realizations hidden deep away.
We begin with the cornerstone and find our own way from there.
Show us the full meaning of the cornerstone,
Bring us there for the beginning,
And walk with us as we end there
At the end of our circle.
We pray to you, and thank you for being by our side.
Shoshannah Stern is an actress, in theatre, television, and film. She played hunter, Eileen Leahy on the hit show on The CW, Supernatural. The Supernatural cast and fans are known for their various charities, especially for actor/activist, Misha Collins’ Random Acts.
The All You Need is Love campaign will run for the next seven days. Items will begin shipping the third week in May. Proceeds from this campaign will go to Off The Grid, a non-profit that provides access to survival tools in high risk and remote areas all across the world. One of those survival tools is for the deaf and hard of hearing who are often forgotten about during emergency communications.
Shoshannah herself is deaf; her first language is American Sign Language. She is currently co-starring (and co-writing as well as having created) This Close, a series currently appearing on the Sundance Now streaming service. This Close is a modern day drama showing the universal story of friendship, love, and life where the two main characters (and others) just happen to be deaf.
Here’s their official trailer:
I reassess how things are going at various times throughout the year. I think some of that attitude is due to therapy, the constant thinking on how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what’s new, what’s stale, etc.
I usually start with Rosh Hashanah and look back again at New Year’s.
Spring is another good time to reassess how things are going, personally, professionally, spiritually, whatever needs assessing. I’m constantly assessing and reassessing my prayer life (when, how, what’s working, what’s not), my family life (discipline, family time, housekeeping, vacation plans, if any), and my writing life (outlines, content, major changes). Those are probably the three biggest for me.
What in your life needs a reassessment?
Ask yourself these questions:
Is this still working for me?
If not, what is it that’s not working?
What changes will help me move forward?
What can I do to do/be better? (Sometimes, it’s simply a minor thing, like getting up half an hour earlier or even wearing a favorite scarf or pin.)
The sun is shining more, the winds have died down, and it’s a bit warmer out (not this year in the Northeast, but we can hope for the coming change). It’s a good time to make changes when we’re coming out of our winter shell.
What changes will you make this month?
Prompt: Where is the childhood place that your heart years for?
Or that you would rather forget?