Everyone has a purpose

When times are hard and your feeling weary, or you feel like a failure, listen up men and women. If you just can’t seem to hold it all together, remember this. You have a divine PURPOSE. And Jesus, the King of Glory specializes in leading you onto that path of purpose. He loves to use misfits; particularly those on the margins, the outside and who don’t have it all together. Don’t forget how the King of Glory took 12 outsiders nobody would have chosen and he changed the whole world. So the moral of the story is everybody has a purpose.

Photo: Outside walls of Jerusalem. Taken by me.

Winter sunrise swim in Ireland

Fergus is in my swimming group. We haven’t swam together yet but I was inspired by his video and wanted to share it with you. He beautifully captures the sunrise from the Irish sea for the first time in 2021. A little robin hops over to him as he watches the sun rise. I swam here on November 22nd, my birthday in honor of my mum who gave birth to me on that day in 1967. This is blog 1967 – minus the 9.
Fergus only started sea swimming in July.
Come and join us!


Ecological imagination in Cork

Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely freezing. Thank you for showing us how to enjoy nature in Cork. Paschal and I met not long ago on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Ask me about that fun trip and experience. We both live in Ireland. I’m in Dublin. He’s in Cork. We share a love of swimming in the Irish sea. Paschal genuinely cares about Cork. His relationship with nature and all things Cork has inspired me to plan a visit. Will we enter into the freezing winter Celtic sea? I think so.

The world is not just in a pandemic, it’s also in an ecological crisis. How are you enjoying and protecting nature’s beauty? Have you considered that really caring for our common home 🏡 is one way to practice environmental justice.

The River Lee in this video is located in the Celtic Sea at Cork Harbour mouth. The ecology of the Celtic sea is interesting. It has a rich fishery and four cetacean species including minke whale, bottlenose dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin and harbor porpoise.

The following scripture came to my mind;
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

Psalm 1:3

Grace at Vico Bathing Place

Dublin is beautifully unique in that you are never too far from the coast. Last Sunday was my birthday so I swam at Vico Bathing Place for the first time. I broke the 5 km Lockdown rule. Ah well! I persuaded a gentleman to come with me. He was a complete stranger and competitive runner back in the day. A 3rd generation Dubliner. I shared the Louis Zamperini story with him. Louis was an Olympic runner and airman during World War II. He crashed into the Pacific and was listed as dead. He spent 47 days adrift in a life raft before being captured by the Japanese. He endured a harsh and cruel imprisonment but later forgave his tormentor. My new friend had never heard of him or Vico Baths even though he’d lived in Dublin all his life. I piqued his curiosity!

One of the things I most enjoy about being back in Ireland is my spontaneous convos on the go — I talk to anyone everywhere. Is it the gift of the gab or just my natural evangelistic/campaigner personality? My friends do wonder how I make all the connections. I had a great day! I swam in a glorious place. My friend met lovely female swimmers. More importantly he pulled off my wet-suit footsies post-swim. I can’t do it in my own strength and with cold hands.

The magic of Vico Baths aka Hawk Cliff showed up when three dolphins popped up out of nowhere close to me. It was such a lovely surprise. I celebrated it with a Prossecco and Terry’s orange in Dalkey Village. Not so healthy but Ah well!

I stayed IN the 12 degrees Celsius sea for 20 minutes in honor of my mother who gave birth to me on this day. I felt like I was in another world. Our Irish coastline is beautiful. It needs protecting. The health of our oceans is vital and so is the health and well being of the Irish wellness warriors attracted to them for the craic and community.

Medieval Castles of Dalkey

“God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.”
Psalm 18:2

This summer I took the Dart out to Dalkey. It’s a lovely fashionable suburb to the south of Dublin. The name Dalkey derives from Delginis (Irish) and Dalk-Ei (Norse) meaning Thorn Island and it’s origins date back 6, 500 years to activity on Dalkey Island. In the early Christian period, St. Begnet’s Church on Castle Street was built. Later, the Church on Dalkey Island was constructed. In the Viking period, there was a thriving slave trade on Dalkey Island. During Medieval times, Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin, as large ships could anchor in the deep waters of Dalkey Sound. It was at this time that seven castles were built, mainly for safe storage. During the 16th century, Dublin port was developed and Dalkey’s importance declined.

Ireland is known as a land of saints and scholars so I’ll align blog 163 with psalm 16:3;

“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

A conversation with nature

Are you enjoying the majesty of nature this October and giving thanks for simple things.

The green leaves that let go as yellow and rustic wings of wisdom
Under-rated
I tread on them
Sweep them up
Watch them glow
They spark imagination and wonder.

Psalm 16 coincides with the 160 th blog;
“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
YOU make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

What’s bringing joy into your life this week?

The wonders of October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

In the past few months I’ve ventured out quite a bit and have met new, wonderful people, in quite unexpected ways. There is value in uncertainty when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Photos in order;
Appreciating the precious gift of life through a local cemetery (1)
My footprints along the path of life (2)
Going in at Lower Rock Portmarnock (3)
Rescue at Lower Rock Portmarnock (4)
Got all 3 out, just about!! (5)
Malahide Estuary (6)
Post swim at Sutton (7)
DART – Dublin Area Rapid System (8)
Relaxed neighborhood cat wants a belly rub (9)
Philosophical Lilly waiting for me to throw a pebble or ball (10)

‘Old Glory’ in the quiet seclusion of Phoenix Park

Old Glory is a nickname for the flag of the United States. The original flag was owned by sea captain William Driver who flew the flag during his career at sea and then brought it to Nashville, Tennessee (sea) which is the sister city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city with a massive ship building history. It was flying low today on my morning walk. A few Irish soldiers went before and fell behind me as I walked on Chesterfield Avenue and around Farmleigh estate. It’s great to be out in nature, and its free!

Land without God

This pandemic has given me time to reflect on my mother’s 12 years of childhood Lockdown/incarceration in Cork. Can you imagine being incarcerated at 2? Why?
The issue of child slavery within Ireland has been kicked under the carpet. Churches don’t mention it. But it’s a faith and justice issue. So, I was encouraged to discover the work and person of Gerard Mannix Flynn.

In his new film Mannix examines the legacy of Institutional abuse by the Irish Church and State over the last century. The story follows him, together with generations of his family, who for the first time, speak openly together about their childhood traumatic experience of being removed from the family home and being incarcerated in children’s homes and industrial institutions run by religious catholic orders. The children worked the land from dawn until dusk, ill-clothed, half-starved day in day out. The regime was merciless.

Manning says;

“Our story has always been stolen, sold and told by somebody else. We have been pitied rather than given justice. This film is told by those who witnessed, experienced and suffered the institutions first hand, my family. For over forty years I have tried to come to terms with what had happened to me, personally, in those institutions. I searched in the wilderness for answers, for reasons, for justice. Nothing came of it. The more I searched for answers the more there was none. My history simply wasn’t recorded. I want this film to redress that absence and silence and correct the historical record. This is an opportunity to ensure Ireland’s history and our history is included and written by those who experienced the unthinkable and who live to this day with the unfixable. For the generations to come questions will be asked about this chapter in Irish history. The grandchildren of those who were incarcerated will want to know, will have a right to know, what kind of history shaped their lives.”

Here’s a link to his website and the official trailer;

https://www.landwithoutgod.com/

Feature picture is my mum Margaret Helen Dean in Yosemite National Park, California.