Break Out In A Song

We left feeling better than we had felt in a while – actually almost giddy with musical notes playing over in our minds and warming our hearts. We had been singing Christmas carols with good friends. One sang the traditional command performance solo, another challenged us with a new duet, and most of us hit wrong notes as we sang and laughed and loved each other.

The next day I still felt better. Energized. I smiled and remembered and worked through the day with those songs playing again in my head and my heart.
What is it about singing that makes us feel so good? Victor Hugo said,” Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”All the pent up things we can never say, we can belt out in a song.

There are benefits of singing. Singing releases the feel-good brain chemicals and pain-relieving endorphins; singing helps us breathe better because we improve our posture and our lung capacity increases; singing improves our mental alertness and tones our muscles; singing increases our confidence.
As my Advent journey continues, I imagine when Mary first heard from the angel she needed a very large dose of confidence. Her visit to her cousin Elizabeth encourages her. Mary is strengthened in her faith, recognizing that she will play a part in the change of human history. Overwhelmed, what does she do? She breaks out in song:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has
regarded the low estate of his handmaiden
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the
imagination of their hearts,
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the empty with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke
to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.”

How does our soul magnify God? No one can hear our soul sing- only God. But if our soul is busting with joy at the news of Jesus this Christmas, it will be impossible, like Hugo say, to be silent about it.

Creator of my soul, fill me with such wonder of you that I cannot keep silent. Let me break out in song!

Advent Comes Again

A different journey has begun. Advent. That time of year when we turn our hearts toward expectation, hope, promises fulfilled, and yes, celebration.

These devotionals were written several years ago and have rested, unpublished and unedited since then. Maybe some of you have read them last year, or when they were originally put on my blog in 2009 – so long ago. Every year since, I open up the file and reread and remember and reflect, editing here and there.

This year, I offer them to you again and invite you to journey with me through the season.

Soli Deo Gloria

Killarney in County Kerry to Kinsale in County Cork

After a most difficult day of golfing at Waterville, where water drenched us golfers for 10 minutes and high winds nearly blew us over, we relaxed and enjoyed our final night in Killarney. It’s date night and all three couples go in different directions – one to a concert, one to a pub, and one to a restaurant, all returning to pack up and head for our final destination.

Let me just say golf in Ireland is not for the faint of heart, Was I crazy to think I could play these courses? Maybe, but I am so glad I was brave enough to forge ahead. Having a caddy is a tremendous help and although they want you to play well, they keep their utter dismay hidden and cheer me to the finish. It’s all worth it.

Our time completed in Killarney, we left the Ross Hotel and headed to Kinsale, a lovely smaller town on the coast. Bright, colored buildings and sparkling water greet us as we arrive at the Perryville House Hotel, a beautiful pink palace, almost 200 years old. 

  It had orginially belonged to a pirate who brought all of his booty into his home before heading back out to sea to plunder again. Fortunately, for us it has been restored to a most comfortable home away from home for us for two nights. Small gardens appear from hallways and windows. Several staircases can lead one to the wrong hallway. With only two days how can we sit in every room and see all there is to see. 


The next day refreshed and ready to go, all of us head to The Old Head as the forecast is for sunny and mile weather.  

 From the moment we turned in we were wowed by the beauty of the grounds, clubhouse, and course.  a good round was had by all and we enjoyed the luck of our day. 




On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a 9/11 Memorial to the firefighters who lost their lives. A moving, tree-lined field overlooking the beauty of Kinsale. 


Kinsale is known to be a foody town. We found a few…Fishy, Fishy which was fun…and fishy. Blue Haven…a good place for a gin and tonic (Irish, that is) and Finn’s Table, an upscale and family-run business and last but not least, The Spaniard, a colorful pub at the top of the hill. 


Too bad we had to leave  when we did. I just read that this year’s Abroad Writers’ Conference is being held in Kinsale…..beginning tomorrow! Who wants to go with me?

The Dingle Peninsula

Today we are tourists. We hop on our very comfortable motor coach and away we go. Sean, our knowledgable and friendly driver has planned a day of “knock your socks off” scenery around the Dingle Peninsula, even to the very most western point of Ireland. Remote, wild, green, expansive all describe our view.


We stop at a prehistoric dwelling of the very first humans on the island – somewhere around 1200 BC. It’s a small rock stacked stone dwelling, with underground passages and ventilation. Every thing has been thought of to ward off incoming visitors. 


WWe are a happy congenial group  and you can tell the weather is balmy and beautiful. 


Lunch in Dingle is a wonderful treat of meat pies and gin and tonics  in Dingle.  

   What a way to spend the day!!

Ballybunion Golf Course

Not many photos today.  Busy working our way around the Ballybunion Golf Course. And when one plays well there is an instant liking to the golf course. 

Great weather and fun junior caddies made for another spectacular day of golf. The dunes aren’t quite so scary and bunkers not an issue. Jus trying to hit them all straight through the dunes that flank the fairways is the greatest challenge. 

Gap of Dunloe or Golf at Tralee – Two Excellent Choices

The weather continues to amaze and please us. Sunny, warm days and cool nights. It seems the rains come during the night and our activities are only enhanced by the perfect weather. I make a wise decision to not play golf three days in a row. Dunes and bunkers have gotten the best of me. Today (yes, I am two days behind and trying frantically to catch up) I join the girls for a day sightseeing in the Irish mountains.

The Gap of Dunloe was formed two million years ago, whenn slow-moving ice carved out this mountain pass between the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. Queen Victoria visited these mountains and deemed them worthy of preservation.

We have a choice of how we will manage the eight-mile trek up and through the pass – horseback, on foot, or a jaunting cart. We opt for the cart with Bluebell, who will pull us through the pass.



There are places where we are asked to hop out and give our horse a break. We don”t mind as we are swept away in the grandeur of this place.  

   Yes, these sheeo have been painted putple – typically farmers put a bit of color around the neck or back of their animals to distinguish them from other herds as they often graze together.  

We move through the pass and head down toward the spot where we will pick up our boat for our final way home. We decide to walk the final mile or so and say good-bye to our cart and driver. We grab a quick lunch as we wait for our boat captain to pick us up. 

   Away we go. I can’t help but think what might happen should a storm pop up, Too late now as we moved downstream to what  seemed a never -ending journey. Exhilirating,  finally reaching Ross Castle.

 The guys had another wonderful day on the links, this  day playing the course at Tralee along with Arnie. 



A few miles down the road is the seaside village of Lahinch. The famous golf course is located between the road and the sea. All roads lead to golf it seems. 

Paddy, the caddy, has been a member for 35 years and could spot a ball a mile away. He could even find a ball in deep grass over the hill. The Irish have great vision! Paddy is the guy on the right. On the 17th hold he tears up and tells me that a year ago today he had a massive stroke and never thought he would walk a course again. He raised is left arm high and said thanks to his sister doctor and great therapists he is alive and well. It was a moment of •real” conversation and my par on the 18th did not matter.

It was another day of sunshine. The course is very similar to Doonbeg with some amazingly tall dunes. One can feel very small on this course. 

The beauty of traveling with flexible friends is that all days are not spent holding hands. This was a day where two rested, one went for a private tour with our driver and the rest of us golfed 

Let me back up. I forgot to mention the  Cliffs of Mohr, a spectacular geological formation of cliffs jutting out into the sea. 

The world is a beautiful place. Flowers and puffins, cattle and dogs. All God’s creation and we get to witness the beauty. Grateful. 

There is golf and then there is Doonbeg

I feel so fortunate to be able to travel to Ireland. I feel so undeserving to get to play the Doonbeg golf course. Here we are with a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean. The wind is strong and grass tall. Caddies help. 

The links course is out and back with dunes high and daunting. It’s a beautiful day and the weather has been on our side.

One does not have to play golf to walk the course. In fact these two kept watch to spot Eric Trump who played behind us.

Even the caddies need a break from finding balls and reading greens. The beautiful 18th fairway at Doonbeg. We ended our day having dinner on the porch, meeting several Americans enjoying all as well. This is a beautiful and pampering place -well, one needs to be pampered after braving the golf. 

I’d come back!

Dublin in a Day

We began our day watching this flower market come to life while we drank our coffee and people watched, waiting to go into Trinity College. It is true that Irish people are very friendly. After watching the flower man empty his truck, we complimented him on such a lovely display and he laughed and looked at us joking, saying “Well, you could have helped me unload them all.”

Trinity College is a beautiful landmark in the center of Dublin. We head into the campus to view the Book of Kells and The Long Hall, a stunning library of ancient books.   The. Book of Kells is the ancient four gospels written artistically with beautiful colors and manuscript that is beautifully preserved. It’s kind of like going to see the Mona Lisa. Very small.  You could spend some time here and learn so much.


After immersing ourselves in history we then turn north to find our way to the Jameson distillery for a tour and tasting. The tastings are small by just enough to please the men.  We wrap up the afternoon with a fun lunch at the cafe right outside the door. We are all eating way too much.  Who said Irish food is not good? Not so!

Here are the lassies before heading out to the final event of our day. The musical “Once” was showing and we grabbed spur of the moment tickets and immersed ourselves in this wonderful Irish play of love and loss, hope and trust. We’ll be humming the tunes throughout our trip. It’s fun to see the city alive at night. Tomorrow’s an early day as we depart for the coast and the beginning of our golf adventure at Doonbeg.