He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

N.Ireland - Day 3, Sunday

Sunday morning dawned bright and early on the plane - somewhere between Iceland and Ireland. The flight crew pulled their sly trick of abruptly turning on the cabin lights to wake everyone up for breakfast. Breakfast was a soft warm croissant with butter and jam, a banana, juice, and mints. They also were so kind to provide a wet wipe for freshening your hands and face after a miserable night.

We arrived about 20 minutes late in Dublin, Ireland. Customs was very easy on us. We got our first passport stamps (Canada, Mexico and the Cayman Islands hadn't required passports in the past). Mark and De live about 3 hours away from Dublin in Northern Ireland.

Let me just pause right here to give a short bit of history/geography to those who may not know. Northern Ireland is not actually part of Ireland. It is part of the UK (the United Kingdom: which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.) This separation occurred in 1921. Before then, the South of Ireland would have actually been under English rule as well.

So... back to our arrival on Sunday morning. Because of De and Mark's Sunday morning schedule, Mark's wonderful brother Peter (who lives in Portadown, much closer to Dublin) picked us up at the airport and drove us to Colerain.

De and I cried and hugged and I got the grand tour of their adorable & cozy home. Then we had a delicious meal. (More on the food and eating customs later!)

David and I crashed for a little nap, then we headed to the evening service.

The ladies wear hats to church here as head coverings. So I borrowed one of De's adorable hats. I look atrocious in hats.

David gave a testimony (not the 30 sec. kind we're used to) and I sang a song, and it was wonderful to meet their warm and real congregation of people. And they have under-the-pew heaters! Toasty.
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Day 4, Monday

Monday was a very busy day. We toured the north part of the Coast Road seeing the some little port towns, Dunluce Castle, and Giant's Causeway.

Coleraine
We started along the River Bann (the longest river in Northern Ireland) which flows through Coleraine, and into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a beautiful river with the city built up on both sides.

Port Stewart
Just north of Coleraine a few miles is the town of Port Stewart. It is a beautiful little coast town with a beach called the Port Stewart Strand. Our travel guide, Mark, tells us that Adam Clark had a near-drowning experience here when God marked him for ministry. Mark and De like to take early morning walks along this beach.
Port Rush
Just a few mile from Port Stewart is another town called Port Rush. The call Coleraine, Port Stewart and Port Rush the Triangle. It is just about four miles between each of the towns. Especially during the warmer months Port Rush is a major tourist attraction.
The Adam Clarke Memorial Church is located in Port Rush. Mark's church owns a little chapel just across the street on the beach (right next to the surfer's club). It's an amazing location. They have service there on Sunday evenings following their service in Coleraine.

During the week the chapel is used as a book store and coffee shop where free drinks and snacks are given to the surfers and anyone wandering along the beach.







There are so many beautiful row houses in Port Rush. It kind of reminds us of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. Actually, everywhere we went there is lots of color--houses, doors, clothes, peoples' hair, etc.

There is also a world-class golf course (number 12 in the world) in Port Rush. They say it is one of Tiger Woods' favorites. It is right on the coast. It only costs a few hundred dollars to play! (But the golfers here seem more interested in the view than golf.)











We continued on down the Coast Road toward Dunluce Castle....

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce is a 13th century castle just outside of Port Rush. Even on a cloudy day (the sun did shine later), the castle is very photogenic.
Dunluce Castle was probably our favorite castle. It is just a few miles from Mark and De's house. It is built right on the cliffs, so close that at some time the kitchen fell off into the ocean 150 feet (that's a guess) below! Here is a model of the original so you can get an idea. The castle is very well taken care of and is less commercialized than Carricksfergus Castle which we visited later.
View to the west...

View to the east...




Giant's Causeway
Further down the Coast Road is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions. You'll see why but I'm not sure the pictures can really capture the grandness of the sight. Since so many people were on Christmas break, the crowds got in the way of what would have been some fantastic pictures. This sign does not tell the whole story. The path was also very slick with muddy spots along the path. David slipped a couple of times near the edge of the cliff which had no rails!

The paths were quite narrow. There are areas where the path had been wiped out by mudslides (or rockslides).

The sun came out beautifully for a few pictures. Notice the people standing on top of the ledge - that will give you an idea of how high the cliffs are. Also notice how grass grows down the cliff! The grass is amazingly hearty.
We spent what daylight we had left at the Causeway. Northern Ireland is so far north that it gets dark at 4:30 or so.
This area was very crowded. This picture is not great - David had the camera set for trying to get a picture of some bird so it is a bit blurry. But it shows how the rocks seem to be stacked. You can literally climb them like steps. It is quite a phenomenon of nature.
The ocean was fairly calm but every once in a while a wave would crash in. Living in Indiana we are suckers for a little wave here or there.

Ballintoy Harbor
Farther to the east us a beautiful harbor down a sharp winding hill. It's hard to believe that people live here. Here is the harbor...
and here is the view opposite the harbor.
Ballycastle
Our last destination for the evening was Ballycastle, a quaint old harbor town on the Coast Road.Home
We went home, drank some tea, ate some chocolate, and watched Guineveve (a hilarious old video) in De's sun room or conservatory (depending on where you're from I suppose).


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Day 5, Tuesday

Toilet Repair
Musaden Temple & Downhill Demesne
Benoane Strand (Beach)
Rode the river Ferry across Lough Foyle to the South of Ireland
Drove through the villages of Greencastle, Whitecastle, & Redcastle
Londonderry (a walled city)
Dinner at 55' North (a beautiful, elegant restaurant on the Atlantic coast in Port Rush)
Had tea at the home of Lorna & Wesley Stewart
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Day 6, Wednesday

More Toilet Repair
Carrickfergus Castle (found fun souviners for the kids)

New Years Eve in Belfast
  • Fish & Chips at Bishops
  • Victoria Square
  • Wheel @ City Hall

Watchnight service and supper @ the church

Mr. Bean video @ De's

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Day 7, Thursday - NEW YEAR'S DAY

Slept in
De fixed a beautiful New Year's meal of curry and chips. We celebrated with holiday crackers.
Long walk on Port Stewart Strand
Dinner @ Wesley & Lorna's
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Day 8, Friday

LONDON
There is an airline which flys from Belfast to England for very cheap fares. The siblings went together and got us tickets for our Christmas gift.


Rise from a restless sleep at 3:45 am!
Drive to Belfast
Pray that Mark made it through security in time to make the flight (he did)
Flight from Belfast to Stansted, England
Paid £2 (2 pounds - would be nearly 4 dollars us) for a teensy, tinsey ginger ale for my pregnant tummy (The flights are so cheap, you don't even get water or peanuts free and the seats are plastic! The planes are safe though, Boeing 737, I think.)
45 minute Train ride into London (almost £30! This was the most expensive part of London)
Rode the Underground also called the "Tube" subway to
Bunnhill Fields (grave yard across from Wesley's Home where many, many famous nonconformists are buried - including Suzanna Wesley, John Bunyan, John Owen, Isaac Watts)
Wesley's Chapel, His Home & Wesleyan Museum
Covent Gardens - market, street entertainers, lunch
Charles Dickens Coffee Shop - location of his magazine office & personal flat
Harrods (a totally amazing shopping experience that you have to see to believe)
Buckingham Palace
Passed Prince Charles' House (The Clarence House)
St. James Park
White Hall (government offices - include the Prime Minister's home on Downing Street, The Royal Horse Guards)
Trafalgar Square & a short rest at McDonalds
Big Ben/Houses of Parliament
Westminster Abbey
Tower of London (a huge castle-like structure where the royal jewels are housed and where executions used to be held)
Tower Bridge (what most people call "London Bridge")
Train ride back to Stansted, England airport
Shopping, Starbucks
Flight back to Belfast
Grocery & Petrol stop
Drive back to Coleraine
Crashed into bed after being up for over 20 hours!
What a happy and exhausting day
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Day 9, Saturday

De taught lessons
I slept in, then did a little housework
David and Mark went to the Men's retreat where David was speaking. His session topics were "The Man in the Home" and "The Man in the Church"
De and I helped a little with lunch preparation for the retreat
De took me to a fabulous Indian restaurant. It was my first time to have Indian food and I LOVED IT!! Flavors like I've never experienced. Totally fantastic. We enjoyed the girl talk, covering quite an array of subjects and ending on theology/philosophy/music. Very fun.
We went back to the retreat to help with cleanup, then
We stopped at their "hole-in-the-wall" bakery....about the size of a large walk-in closet. You can buy the most adorable little tea pastries for 20p (as in 20 pennies!)
De took me shopping. Found some really cheap, cute boots at an after-holiday sale.
We went home and took down De's Christmas decorations while we waited for the guys to get home.

Supper at the Stewarts. The Stewarts are the senior pastors at the church where Mark pastors. Our supper was very neat. When we arrived at their home, we went straight into the sitting room, where a cozy fire was lit. We sat and talked until the tea was ready. Tea and supper are often served on small nesting tables that are pulled from under a side table.

For our supper we had tea, potato skins, spicy potato wedges, breadsticks, and several delicious dipping sauces. There were also scones with cream & jam, pancakes (which are eaten plain, like a piece of bread), and wheaten scones with cream. This was followed by dessert (which is often referred to as "pudding"). There was an apple tart (apple pie) with cream and a beautiful coffee cake (which was actually more like a small flavored layer cake with icing & sprinkles.

We then headed home. De and I did some chores. I'm blogging. David's working on tomorrow's sermon. De's working on something. Mark's been trying to read, but I've been stopping him every two seconds for help with my blogging facts and locations.

The time has passed so very quickly. I miss the kids like crazy. Whenever I hear a child cry I just want to squeeze him up and kiss him, just because I miss my own so much. They're having a great time, though.

Tomorrow is a busy day, then Monday will be our last day before starting our journey home.
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Another hilarious email from Andrea

The wife has been on my case to get the Christmas lights up early this year.They are up now and for some reason she will not talk to me.

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Well.....

I owe you all a humongous apology for getting you all excited and worked up about my happy thing and then leaving you hanging in utter suspense for weeks on end.

My happy thing was that my disc drive, which I've been desperate for, was fixed by following my brilliant friend Nelda's advice to plug it into its own power source. I was elated. And I made it through one senior pictures disc-making before it started freezing up my computer. So now I'm frustrated again. Pro*Byte can't even figure out what's wrong. I have some other things to try before I give up and bash the thing with a sledge hammer. If you're one of the many waiting for pictures from me I apologize profusely.

On another note --
aHHH. Pregnancy. I knew it stunk, but I forgot how bad. I am an avid promoter of adoption for many reasons. Pregnancy is one of them. (Trust me - I'm not making light of people whose deepest desire is to bear their own child. It is a blessing for which I am miserably and nauseatingly thankful.)

I feel like I'm dragging myself around from room to room, then I wander around the room trying to figure out what in the world I'm doing there and where to start! I'm not complaining or asking for any type of sympathy, mind you. Just talking girl talk. Telling you where I am.

Thankfully, so far this time pregnancy has hit me more in the tired category instead of the tears category. But then again, maybe I'd rather be busy and sobbing than happy and sleeping. Huh. Now THAT sentence didn't make a lick of sense. I'm literally sitting here laughing out loud at myself. That's not exactly how I meant it to sound.

I just miss being productive! I try to get at least one or two big projects done a day ("big" meaning that it is on my driving-me-crazy-because-it's-not-done list). But other than that it honestly sorta feels like I take one step forward, ten steps back. Oh well. Productivity will return in about 3 months. And then....

LET THE NESTING BEGIN!

I just love nesting. It's like a giant race to your due date and you have just so many months to get your entire life organized before the screaming, pooping lizard pops into your world and deprives you of nutrition and sleep while bringing utter joy and satisfaction.

I think late pregnancy might be my most productive times of my whole life. I've had.....well....3....of them. (Doesn't sound like I lead a very productive live, huh?) That's why I have to keep having a baby every two or three years - to keep this place reasonably orgainzed! I remember with one baby when my nesting whirlwind reached and linen closet, I didn't stop at decluttering and organizing it. I labeled the shelves..."King sheets" "Table cloths" "Napkins" "Pillow Cases"
Trust me, it was out of control. But really cool, nonetheless.

The only kind of nesting I'm doing right now is scooping the laundry into one big giant nest on the floor so that I can drag my listless frame into bed.

So for now, I'll get back to my anti-nausea Ginger Ale guzzling and leave you to ponder these deep and glorious thoughts.
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What a happy thing

Well....it WAS a happy thing I just posted about, but stinkin'-nasty blogger went and LOST THE WHOLE THING!

Happy Sarah is now going to bed. You'll just have to wait for the happy thing.
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Back home again in Indiana...

Drive with kids, presents & Grandma from Cincy to Indy. Drop Grandma Parsons off at the airport. Watch her until she gets her bags checked and goes inside. Marvel at an amazing woman. Almost run out of gas. Take the wrong exit. Pray our way to the gas station with 5 miles left to empty. Thank the Lord for a Krogers with gas tanks. Search unsuccessfully for Ginger Ale for my pregnant tummy. Almost Fill the van's tank for 20 bucks! Hit the road again. Have sentimental feelings upon arriving in Frankfort. Get home. Get mail. Wish David was here. Leave freezing kid outside back door without coat while running around to unlock the front door. Open box of our Christmas Cards and inspect. Chill out awhile. Let girls practice by themselves for a combined total of about 4 minutes and let them get a practice prize anyway (who cares). Help Karissa find ballet clothes. Admire Kayla's horse drawing. Marvel at the Christmas explosion in our house. Unload van. Wish David was home. Move dogs from kennel to basement. Feed & water dogs. Put in load of laundry. Unload van. Wish David was home. Plug in charger to phone. Get distracted and lose phone. Unload van. Decide to do once a month cooking again soon so the freezer will be stocked with meals. Wish David was home. Think about how organized I'm going to get in the next couple of weeks at home. Find phone in a weird place. Plug in phone. Sigh at the Christmas explosion in small house. Whip up a gourmet double batch of Mac & Cheese. Calm a sibling fight involviving water gun, sharp scissors, and a large roll of duct tape. Super Yummy for the pregnanty tummy on the Mac & Cheese. Stop little boy from pouring grape juice into mac & cheese. Unplug phone to call David. Set down phone at the sound of deep purple grape juice gushing from table to floor. Clean up grape juice. Make note to buy Viva Paper towells again (AMAZINGLY absorbant!). Groan inside when naked boy runs to kitchen and announces "I poo-poo!" and inspects his own hands. Ask him to show me where. Groan to see the training potty has already been emptied and ask where again. Sigh to see that contents have been (almost) successfully emptied into big potty. Rinse training potty and grin as naked boy does an adorable little bottom jig and sings "I poo-POO! I poo-POO!" Sit down alone to finish mac & cheese. Dream about a long quiet bubble bath after kids are in bed. Call David. Write obnoxious blog post.
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Maria's Senior Pictures


Click the picture to see more of Maria's pictures. She's gorgeous! We had a lot of fun freezing our frannies today.

Maria Coleman '09

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You know you're pregnant if.....

  1. You eat flan for breakfast
  2. You sob at the end of Home Alone
  3. You cook a filet mignon - which in previous gestations brought sweet relief - and by the time it cooks a few minutes it doesn't sound good anymore
  4. You're more exhausted than you've been in two years, but toss and turn all night
  5. You can go from euphoria to in-the-dumpshia in .2 seconds if you don't take your B-complex
  6. It feels like a small creature has hooked a hose to your system and is sucking out your very life
  7. You suddenly give a care about potty training your 2-year-old (who could have been diaper free a year ago if you'd have given a care)
  8. You find yourself waddling or rocking for no apparent reason (and you're not autistic)
  9. The flapper on your tear ducts gets loose
  10. You sit around the Christmas tree with your kiddos and sing lullabys to your belly

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Hi!

I just finished the dishes/kitchen/dog/vitamins evening routine and found myself missing my blogging friends! So I just thought I'd stop by and say a quick hello.


  • I know I'm pathetic at keeping up with this...but that's okay. Who needs a guilt trip?
  • We had a so great Thanksgiving. I want to show details and pictures soon. But no promises. The last time I made a big juicy list of all the things I wanted to blog about it turned out to be a big juicy joke...I didn't come through.
  • I want to show pictures of my trip to Idaho/Washington. I'm so in love with the Northwest now and love my new friends.
  • Hmmm...what else? Kayla just walked in with a HUGE claw mark on her collar bone from her lovely little sister. Catfights and spankings galore.
  • This Friday is our FCA Christmas program, with a bunch of toys coming to life!
  • Then we're off to Cincy for the GBS Christmas production and the Wolf Christmas.
  • Guess that's all the brilliant things I'll take the time to share right now

Oh yeah...guess I'll share one more thing.....

WE'RE EXPECTING SMALL FRY #4!!!

We're all very excited, and the girls have been practicing their diaper-changing skills.

Kayla is reading over my shoulder and has instructed me to say "Bye."

She says....."Bye-Bye. Get it?"

Yeah, I get it Kayla. We need to have story time.

Good night for now, friends.

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The many faces of Mark Lowery

We laughed...
and we laughed....

and we laughed

and we laughed

He even laughed at himself. I'd laugh at myself too, if I were that funny.

The man can sing, too!It was a wonderful concert. I laughed my head off and cried while he powerfully sang the old song "Does Jesus Care." His message was clear and beautiful.....Look for the diamonds around you in whatsoever situation you find yourself.
Thanks, Mom Fry, for letting me tag along.
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Catching Up

Back in October we got the chance to meet for a few hours with our friends, Darrell and Lizzy Stetler. We met at Chick-fil-A so the kids could play.
Darrell and David figuring it ALL out.
New friends!
We're blessed to have friends like this who have the same family values and who are like-minded in so many ways. I love the way little Gracie looks when she's taking it all in. It wasn't nearly long enough - we just skimmed the surface in those few hours. But it was good to catch a visit while we could before they moved on to Youth Challenge. (Where we heard Darrell did a fantastic job speaking!)
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Early Christmas Shopping

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get some of those names checked off my list. Get a cooler present for your cash: Check out our school's silent auction. Gift baskets and gift certificates of every kind - kids, men, women, food, home, oil changes, pet grooming, King jacuzzi room at Holiday Inn.... But stay away from the Starbucks baskets! I have a brother-in-law in Europe who collects Starbucks mugs. Don't touch 'em!

You've gotta check these babies out, even if you don't bid. Maybe you'll get some ideas for the people on your list. (And Yes, you can have the baskets or gift certificates shipped to you.)

FCA's Annual Soup Supper and Silent Auction

The auction is this Thursday night, so you may want to get on there and get your eye on the ones you want. If you live anywhere near Frankfort, save yourself some cooking and stop by for take-out: All you can eat soup dinner for $6.00 adults/$5.00 for kids (with desserts and drinks and all)! Tickets are $7 and $6 if you wait and buy them at the door.



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Bradly and Elizabeth's Wedding

It was just wow. Chocolate and Deep Red. A spectacular tent. A glowing church. Gorgeous people. You should have been there.

Here are a few more pictures of the day....
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PLEASE......

Next time I decide to have a yard sale, would somebody be so kind as to shake me or kick me or knock me to my senses?

WHY do I continue to think this is better than dropping stuff off at A Great Find or Goodwill? Aren't there a million other ways to get a little cash? Selling hair, selling blood, taking untested drugs....anything's got to be less painful than this.

I was on a roll, blissfully taking periodic bagfulls of treasures to Goodwill. But then we made this little decision to go visit my sister in Ireland. Thus the scrimping and saving and aching of feet. I must really love De a lot.

Always remember: FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS HAVE YARDSALES!
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Corn Maze

:: Our school took a field trip to Exploration Acres ::
It was loads of fun!





There's just something about jumping in a big straw mound. My kids look forward to that more than about anything at pumpkin patches!

This was the "old lady" go-cart race. Karissa is laughing at me as we speak. (I'm the one in the orange- in the lead! :)


Caiden has his own methods of dealing with the corn maze. It was more like a farmer's amble and explore version. So we separated ourselves from the high-strung girls group (Bless Julie's heart she got stuck with all the girls alone!) and we set out at our own lazy-day pace.
The ducky races were so cool! Even Mr. Fry and Mr. Coleman got in on it, but my camera must have been on the wrong setting and the pictures didn't turn out.

This was a very happy place - run by the family who has owned this farm for generations.
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