Author Archives: kathiinireland

Advent Week 4: A Gift of Love

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Lori and her Christmas rings…

My sister, Lori, shared the following with me several years ago. Because I have used it and shared it myself, I’m not sure how much of the writing of this is mine, and how much of these words are hers. Lori died in February 2019. 

I think that the mixing up of our words pretty well describes our lives. I cannot extract her thoughts and her words, her presence from who I am. I miss her wisdom. And so I share this today from Lori (and me).

Our Grama Beulah graduated from college in the 1920s (the first time).  She majored in “elocution” (that was a real thing).  She performed recitations (much like you might see in “Anne of Green Gables”). 

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Advent Week 3: Joy

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I’m a little late with the joy…

In the Godly Play Advent stories, when we come to week three we find that the candle lit for the shepherds is a different colour.

And we say this:  Do you see that the candle is a different colour? It is the colour of roses. This reminds us that while this is a serious time, it is also a time of great joy and celebration. Read the rest of this entry

Advent 2: Hope and Peace

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I have always loved the day that “Christmas” comes out of the attic. I love the magic of lights and candles, colors and keepsakes. 

My mom is a boss when it comes to Christmas decorations – she used to cover the mantelpiece with angel hair, lights, and figurines. I thought it was magical. 

Mom would sit us down at the table (myself and my three sisters), and we would get to choose which Christmas cookies we would bake with her. These delicacies would then be plated up and given away as gifts. 

Nat King Cole is the soundtrack in these memories.

The practice of placing a wreath of holly on the front door began in Ireland. Holly flourishes at Christmastime, and it gave poorer people the ability to generously decorate their homes. 

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Advent 1: Wait in Hope

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; 

without him nothing was made that has been made. 

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

Advent is a time of preparation. It is a time when the world is waiting and longing for light in the darkness, for healing and hope. 

Long ago, Irish farm families would clean and whitewash every building on the farm in December. The buildings were covered with white paint or lime wash to symbolically purify them for the coming of the Saviour. 

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Hope: A Seat at the Table

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Today and tomorrow (the 26th and the 27th) are both anniversaries for me. One is an anniversary of “leaving” and one is an anniversary of “arriving”. 

Nineteen years ago I left California for Ireland. This time, it wasn’t a vision trip.  I didn’t have a return ticket. I had given away, sold, thrown out, or packed up everything I owned. I met with friends and said good-bye. I made notebooks for my nieces and nephews, something I could add pages to as my life unfolded. 

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Hope: I Will Not Forsake You

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This looks like “hope” to me.

In Genesis 12:1-9 we read the story of Abram.  It starts like this:

Now the Lord said to Abram,

“Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father’s house,

To the land which I will show you…” (v. 1, NASB)

And then, (v. 4):

“So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken…”

Abram was 75 years old when he and Sarai, his wife, packed up all of their “possessions they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired” and they set out. 

They began, not knowing where they were going or how long it would take.

They believed the promise of God, that God would lead them and bless them.

But they didn’t know where they were going.

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Hope: Being the Beloved

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One Sunday, when my siblings and I were already adults, my dad (who was a pastor) called my sister up onto the platform and asked her, “What does Daddy think of you?”

She was taken by surprise, but her immediate response was, “I am as precious-as-can-be.”  Dad had instilled in each of us a certain sense that we are beloved.  

In the book of Matthew, we read the story of Jesus coming to John to be baptized.

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Hope: Liminal Space

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On Saturday I was trying to write out some thoughts and I used the words “liminal space”. I paused and decided to look that up. I wanted to be sure that it “means what I think it means” (thank you, Inigo Montoya).

I found this definition by way of “Google Dictionary”: 

liminal:  /ˈlɪmɪn(ə)l/: adjective

1. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.

2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. 

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Hope: When You Can’t See the Road Ahead

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I like to get lost. I enjoy it. 

I like to find another way. I want to see the surprising view, the hidden vista. 

I want to feel clever when my directional acumen (that’s a real thing – and I have it) lands me in the right neighbourhood again.   

I welcome the unknown road. I welcome the bend that reveals a new landscape. 

It brings me joy. It is like a deep sigh.

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