St. Patrick’s Day Countdown – Get Your Green on Tomorrow

Today we wrap up our St. Patrick’s Day Countdown with a short exchange that Amanda and I had during her final day on the Emerald Isle. I’ve always had a hard time explaining why I’m so drawn to my Irish heritage. I make a stab at it for Amanda below.

Looking back now, I guess I would just have to say that I fell in love with the passion for Ireland that so many of my Mother’s immigrant relatives possessed. My mother’s relatives were all clearly thankful for, and proud of, the United States. Ireland, however, would forever hold a piece of their hearts. For them, it would always be home.

They fought valiantly to keep some of their sacred traditions alive in their/our new home. When my family and I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in grand style, I feel like there’s a chance we are appropriately honoring their hearts’ desire.

May our Good and Gracious Lord be with you and yours on this St. Patrick’s Day. And may the luck of the Irish be with you all–no matter where you or yours call home–in the year ahead. God bless!

Amanda takes a "boat break" in Killarney National Park

Day 7 of Amanda’s Ireland Trip; August 26, 2007

Amanda wrote:
Okay, so we went to Knock on Saturday and it was pretty cool. Knock is very small—so it was quite different from the other cities we had seen in Ireland. The Shrine was beautiful, much like the town: simple and rather understated. I guess it just reflects the whole story of the apparition that occurred here. We actually had to sleep on the floor of a dining room in a B&B, as everything else was booked out because of a conference that was going on at the Shrine. On Sunday, we left Knock for Dublin. We missed our first bus to Dublin because we were at the wrong stop. We literally saw the bus drive right past us. It was horrible! We had to wait three hours for the next bus. Our flight to Austria went well. It took just a few hours…not too bad. The journey to our campus in Gaming (pronounced Gahm-ing) was amazing! The town, situated in rural Austria at the base of the Alps, is unbelievably beautiful!! Hope all is well there! I’ll write later!!

Dad’s reply to Amanda:

I’m going to miss hearing about your Irish escapades. I keep wondering if you saw a bit of us in the people you came across. My mother’s family was SO Irish and so emotionally connected to their (our) heritage. I remember when my mom and Aunt Julie visited. As I recall it, they were in a pub chatting with the locals when Julie got all teary-eyed and said, “I feel like we are at one of our family reunions.” That’s how familiar it felt to them. I’m thinking the joint must have been filled with pranksters whose hearts were exceeded in size only by the height of their beer mugs.

We really missed having you here this past weekend. We finally had a blessing and
dedication for the first worship space at our new church. The turnout was amazing
and the ceremony was so nice. Just between us, I had to choke back the tears when
Matt and the gang sang Holy Ground. Of course, I acted like it was the damn sun,
but they were happy tears. I wish you could have been here—everybody is always
asking about you and sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Jeff even has a
picture of you and Andrew in his new Youth Minister’s office.

Holy Ground Medley
This is Holy Ground, we’re standing on holy ground
For the Lord is here, and where He is is Holy.
This is Holy Ground, we’re standing on holy ground
For the Lord is here, and where He is is Holy.
These are Holy hands, we’re lifting up holy hands
He works though these hands, and so these hands are holy.
These are Holy hands, we’re lifting up holy hands
He works though these hands, and so these hands are holy.
– Words and music by Geron Davis; ©1983 Meadowgreen Music/Songchannel Music Words and music by Christopher Beatty; ©1982 Birdwing Music/BMG songs, Inc.

Amanda’s reply to Dad:
I am really sad I didn’t get to go to the dedication, but I bet it was beautiful! And Matt’s voice is amazing! I will just keep praying for even more buildings to get started. Being in beautiful churches over here really makes me miss having a real church to call my own—not some elementary school gym. However, I guess I should be thankful for what God has given us.

Note: For an entertaining look at the story behind the making of Being Amanda in Europe, visit http://www.beingagilstrap.com.

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